Protesters march in Tiburon following police encounter with Black store owner

Bay Area

TIBURON, Calif. (KRON) — Marin County protesters marched to the Tiburon Police Department Saturday afternoon, in support of a Black business owner who says he was racially profiled in his own store.

During the protest — creator Yema Khalif spoke to a large crowd of supporters — using the motto behind his clothing brand “Yema” to send a message. 

“I live my life like a good, joyful, human!” said Khalif. “I am a good human, and I’ve been traumatized, I’ve been traumatized by the whole experience.” 

He’s talking about his encounter with Tiburon police last Friday.

Yema says he was working late in his store when officers came to the door asking him to identify himself. 

The confrontation continued until a white neighbor down the street shouted at police, vouching for Yema.

A moment he referenced during the protest

“If you’re a person of privilege, do not be afraid to speak out! When you see someone being harassed in the street say something,” he urged.

Organizers of the protest, Tenisha and Paul Austin say the purpose was to show Yema and his family support, and to denounce racial profiling and systemic racism that is prevalent in the community. 

“People think racism is an evil spirited person that lives somewhere far away, when it exists in our own community,” said Austin.

During the protest, organizers called for an investigation into the police department and for the chief of police to step down. The town’s vice mayor, Holli Thier, offered her support and an apology.

“I have apologized many times but I am publicly apologizing on behalf of the town of Tiburon,” said Thier. “No one should have their dignity, honor and respect questioned.”

She, along with everyone in attendance spent the afternoon vowing to do what they can to make Tiburon more tolerant. Following the rally at the police department, the group then gathered in downtown Tiburon to continue supporting Yema. 

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