'Show me that it's your store': Tiburon police demand Black business owner prove who he is

Video shows the interaction between the store owner and the police supervisor, who demanded, "I want to know what you're doing in the store at 1'oclock in the morning."
TIBURON, Calif. (KGO) -- A Black business owner is speaking out after Tiburon police demanded proof he was the store's owner. There's video of the interaction and an investigation underway.

"There's three Black people in the store, what's the problem?" said Yema Khalif in a video his friend took. Khalif posted the video to Instagram.

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In the video, Khalif is at the door of his own store talking with a Tiburon police supervisor.

"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," said Khalif in an interview with ABC7 News.

Khalif started the brand with his wife when they were in college. Their pictures are even on the store's walls. Proceeds from clothing sales help send orphans go to school.

"We're trying to build a brand with a big heart," said Khalif.

He opened the store this past February and says it's not unusual for them to work late into the night.

"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," said Khalif.

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"This street closes at 9 o'clock at night and there's never anybody in here. 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," says the supervisor.

Khalif: "If I tell you it's my store then what?"
Supervisor: "Then show me that it's your store."
Khalif: "I do not have to show you nothing."

The business owner tells ABC7 News, "I did feel racially profiled."

In the video you can hear the supervisor say, "You should be grateful that we're being as diligent as we are to look out for the street, that's all we do."

A Tiburon police spokesperson tells ABC7 News the town has hired an outside, independent attorney to conduct an investigation.

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In an emailed statement writing, "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 Police 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."

"Just because you've never seen me here before I do not have to prove to you that I have to be here," said Khalif in the video.

The supervisor demanded Khalif put his key in the door to prove ownership when a neighbor shouted at police identifying him.

"That's his store," yelled the neighbor.

Even after the supervisor walked away, the officer who first approached the store said, "Can you put the key in the door please?"

Khalif refused. He's hoping the recorded interaction will inspire a different conversation.

"How can we do better as a community? How can policing be done better? How can policing be done with empathy," said Khalif.

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