Black Entrepreneur Forced To Prove He Owns His Store By White Cops – Video

A video going viral on the internet displays a White officer in Tiburon, California, interrogating a Black business owner for simply being inside his own store at 1 am. Yema Khalif, the store owner, is now speaking up about how the officer asked him for evidence to prove that he was, in fact, the owner.

For Khalif, it is not unusual to work at his store late into the night. While he is no stranger to ra-cism, this was the first time such an incident took place at his place of business.

At the time, he was in his store with two other people, including his friend who recorded the video, ABC News reports.

“He demands to know what we are doing at the store at 1 o’clock in the morning and he wants me to prove who I am,” Khalif said in an interview with the news outlet. “This particular day we had just received a huge inventory and we just wanted to come out and put the inventory out before Saturday morning.”

The Black entrepreneur and his wife began their business together when they were in college. According to him, they are trying to “build a brand with a big heart.” Proceeds from all their clothing sales are donated in order to help send orphans to school. Pictures of both him and his wife can even be found on the walls of the store—a key piece of “proof” that the White officer with several years of investigative training evidently missed.

In the video, the supervisor can be heard stating, “This street closes at 9 o’clock at night and there’s never anybody in here. This isn’t regular business hours, there [are] no customers in there. Is it your store? That’s all we want to know? I want to know what you’re doing in the store at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

When Khalif asks what happens when he tells the officer it’s his store, the officer demands proof. The officer also says, “You should be grateful that we’re being as diligent as we are to look out for the street, that’s all we do.” However, the incident did not help the business owner feel safe or looked after.

Indeed, Khalif affirmed, it made him feel ra-cially profiled.

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Last night we had a not so good exchange with Tiburon police at our place of work.  YEMA is the only black owned clothing store in Tiburon, California so many people in our community know who we are.   Some days we have to work late. Yesterday was one of those days. We received new inventory during the day so we went back to our store, on Main street Tiburon California, to work late. One of our business friend was visiting us from washing DC so he came with us. This is around 1AM. FYI, a popular restaurant close to us was still open and I could see their employees working late. We are inside the store minding our business, All store lights are on and you can see us from outside because we have high windows all around the store.  Our store alarm did not go off, no one called the police, everything was peaceful.  Then we see Tiburon police car patrolling. We saw him drive around the block like 3 times. At one point he stopped across our store for a good minute. Then finally, the cop decided to come knock on our store door. FYI, we didn’t realize that when he was circling the block he was calling for back up.  I opened the door for him then he proceeded to tell me his purpose for knocking on our door was to check what we were doing at the store that late. And he wanted us to prove who we are. His tone not very like-able.  I expressed to him that there was no crime going on and we were going about our business. Then he insisted that he wanted us to prove who we are and to explain what we were doing at the store that late. I, kindly, explained that we didn’t have to prove anything and asked for a supervisor.  That’s when we knew he had already called for back up. Supervisor and another cop – who had his hand on his gun, by the way, showed up almost immediately. The supervisor came charged and did not come to deescalate anything.  The situation started getting out of hand so our friend from DC started recording the exchange (Video below). @shaunking @beyonce @chakabars @lauraharrier @buzzfeed @nowthisnews @aljazeeraenglish @cnn @bbcnews @latimes @nytimes @wsj @ava @shondarhimes @kuz @kingjames @oprah @voguemagazine @essence @adutakech @tiffanyhaddish

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An investigation into the incident is currently ongoing. An emailed statement reads, “The Town is engaging the services of an outside, independent attorney to conduct an investigation of the incident involving a local business owner and Tiburon Officers on August 21 at 10 Main Street. At the conclusion of the investigation, the report will be provided to the Town Manager for review and appropriate action will be taken based on the findings of the investigator.” Meanwhile, Khalif asked, “How can we do better as a community? How can policing be done better? How can policing be done with empathy?”

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