A California city has agreed to pay a Black couple $150,000 after police officers racially profiled them in their store in 2020. Yema Khalif and his wife were putting up inventory in their store in August 2020, when Tiburon Police officers demanded that Khalif put his key in the door of his store and show ID to show he was the owner according to FOX 2.
However, the officers kept questioning the couple until a white neighbor confirmed he owned the store.
Khalif and his wife Hawi Awash will sit now be on an advisory board that will vet candidates for the police department, and the agency will bolster racial bias training, among other reforms according to the settlement.
“This isn’t about just me and Yema,” Awash said during a press conference. “It’s about every single Black and brown person that comes into the Tiburon community, that comes into the Belvedere community.”
Khalif and Awash, were the only Black business owners in the town at the time, were going through inventory at the store at 1 a.m. on August 21, 2020, when Tiburon Police Officer Isaac Madfes came to the door and asked them what they were doing. Awash says the officer was “aggressive,” therefore Khalif asked for a supervisor, who Madfes said was on his way. The superior officer, Sgt. Michael Blasi asked the couple about their presence in the store, which had photos of them on the wall.
“This street closes at 9 o’clock at night and there’s never anybody in here,” Blasi said. “This isn’t regular business hours. There’s 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.”
Khalif said he didn’t have get the officer his ID.
“I don’t have to tell you nothing. If I tell you it’s my store, then what?” asked Khalif.
The sergeant said that “if” it was Khalif’s store, he should show proof, and he is “looking out for the community.”
“You don’t sound like you’re very grateful. You sound like you’re very defensive,” Blasi said.
“I do not have to prove my…