Investigation underway following confrontation between Tiburon police and Black store owners

Bay Area

TIBURON, Calif. (KRON) — “You should be grateful that we are being as diligent as we are to be looking out for the street that’s all we do.”

The town of Tiburon has begun investigating an incident involving their police department and a Black owned business.

You can see officers in cell phone video and body camera footage confronting the business owners, asking what they were doing inside their own store.

The police sergeant in the video as well as the chief of police have since stepped down from their positions, and as KRON4’s Michelle Kingston reports — the store owners have hired an attorney.

“Is it your store? That’s all we want to know.”

An investigation is now underway to figure out what led police to question the owners of a Tiburon clothing company about what they were doing inside their own store three weeks ago.

“OK it’s my store, did you identify yourself? I don’t have to identify myself to anybody it’s my store.”

Hawi Awash owns the clothing store with her husband — they were unpacking boxes with the lights on and no alarm sounding when officers parked out front of their store and eventually came to the front door. The confrontation didn’t end until a white neighbor down the street told the officers that Awash and her husband did in fact own the store.

“I remember them leaving and my body was just non stop shaking and I think that’s when I realized OMG that just happened,” Hawi Awash said.

KRON4 News has learned the investigation is being conducted by the Law Offices of Amy Oppenheimer.

The town manager of Tiburon says they have no further updates to provide, and the police department spokeswoman said no one was available for an interview and did not respond to our questions.

At this time — we know the Tiburon Police Chief — Michael Cronin — is officially retiring on Sunday.

Town Manager Greg Chantis says he and Cronin have been discussing his retirement for a while now.

His announcement came just one week after Sgt. Michael Blasi resigned following the release of police body cam footage showing him and other officers questioning the owners of Yema after hours.

“I want to know what you are doing in the store at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

The store owners say there’s been an outpouring of community support and they’re hopeful the town council will resolve the issue and take the right steps to move forward.

“I’m hopeful about the investigation. I want to find out why the resignations are happening why the early retirements are happening, I’m really curious to know what it is that they found,” Awash said.

Awash and her husband have hired an attorney. They hope an oversight committee can be formed to oversee the hiring process of the next police chief.

Latest Posts

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tracking COVID-19 in the Bay Area

Trending Stories

Latest News

More News