Who do you call when the police are harassing you? That’s a question that many in Black and brown communities have been asking for centuries. On Tuesday (April 19), San Francisco news station ABC 7 News reported that nearly two years after being racially profiled, two Black store owners will be awarded $150,000 from the city of Tiburon, California.
In August 2020, Yema Khalif and his wife Hawi Awash — both Black — were in their store in Tiburon when white police officers approached them demanding that the couple show proof that they owned the store.
Body cam and cell phone footage shows the altercation as it unfolds.
“You’re at a location that we’ve never seen you at before,” a white officer tells Khalif.
Khalif responds, “It does not fucking matter where I’m at before.”
As the heated interaction continued, the couple was not left alone until a neighboring white store owner intervened, telling the police that the store did belong to them.
After footage of the confrontation went viral, the police chief of Tiburon and one of the police officers resigned.
At a press conference on Tuesday in Tiburon, Khalif said, “We are not begging, we are demanding to be treated with love, with dignity and with respect.”
His wife Awash joined the conference saying, “This isn’t about just me and Yema. It’s about every single Black and Brown person that comes into the Tiburon community, that comes into the Belvedere community.”
Along with the couple’s settlement money, the city has agreed to form a community advisory board that the couple will serve on. Board members will assist in vetting candidates for the Tiburon police department to help ensure that these kinds of incidents don’t happen again.
The changes don’t end there — Tiburon’s police department has also agreed to better serve the community by increasing the frequency of racial bias training.