VIDEO: Confrontation between Black store owners and Tiburon police officers raises concerns

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TIBURON, Calif. (KRON) — A virtual Tiburon town meeting was held Thursday night to discuss an interaction that took place over the weekend between police officers and the only Black store owners in the town.

The incident all caught on cell phone and body camera video.

Two white Tiburon police officers showed up to the store, asking the Black store owners inside what they were doing there.

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

A couple who owns a clothing store in downtown Tiburon say they were harassed by police.

Working late last Friday night, the owners of Yema say police parked out front of their clothing store in downtown Tiburon and eventually came to the front door.

Cell phone video captures the confrontation, as well as police body camera footage just released on Wednesday.

“This street closes at 9 o’clock at night, there’s never anybody in here, this isn’t regular business hours,” one police officer said. “No customers in there, is this your store? That’s all I wanna know. You wanna know you want to know why. I want to know what you are doing in the store at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

The owners of Yema have lived in Tiburon for 10 years and opened the shop — an African-inspired athletic clothing company — in February.

“I think there’s a lot of people who know who we are and we have lived in this community for the last like almost 10 years so there are people who know we are here,” store owner Yema Khalif said.

The couple — and one of their friends — were emptying boxes, preparing for the weekend. The lights were on, no alarm was sounding, but they say the two police officers were argumentative from the start.

“Do you want us to look out for your community or do you want us to let anybody just walk in here at 2 o’clock in the morning and steal all your stuff? I want you to look out for my community,” the officer said. “Are you sure because you don’t sound like you’re very grateful you sound like you are very defensive.”

The confrontation continued until a white neighbor down the street shouted at police.

“That’s his store! That’s his store!” the neighbor said.

“Thank you very much that’s all I needed to know,” an officer said. “Thank you, see ya.”

The store owners say while they have received a lot of support from customers, but they have yet to receive an apology from police.

“I just think that things can be better and they should be better and as a business owner I shouldn’t have to feel that I have to prove myself of who I am every single time,” Khalif said. “It gets a little bit frustrating. It gets frustrating.”

We reached out to police for comment, as well as the mayor, but did not hear back from them. Town officials are expected to provide an update on the situation during a virtual Town Hall meeting that started Thursday night.

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