Tiburon store owners file $2M suit against police for alleged racial profiling

Two Black business owners in Tiburon have filed claims against two police departments for alleged racial profiling. 

According to the Bay Area News Group, the owners of "Yema" clothing filed lawsuits on Monday against the Tiburon and Belvedere police departments seeking $2 million for alleged emotional distress and potential loss of revenue, as well as punitive damages.

Yema Khalif and his wife Hawi Awash, both Black, said the claims stem from an incident that occurred in August. The pair had been working late at the store when a Tiburonpolice officer entered and asked them to identify themselves. One of the owners refused, saying he did not have to prove he had the right to be in his own store. 

"The officer should have knocked, introduced himself, and explained he was patrolling Main Street," said Awash back in August after the incident. "But instead it was more like, 'Who are you? And prove yourself.'"

The situation ended when a neighboring business owner confirmed that it was the man's store.