Black Store Owners Racially Profiled By White Cops, Awarded $150k

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Two Black store owners were awarded a $150K settlement after being harassed and profiled by California white cops, ABC7 News reports.

In August 2020, Black couple Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash were working at their Bay Area clothing store when white officers barged in and demanded they show proof of ownership. The racial profiling went viral after body camera and cell phone footage of the incident broke the internet. 

“You’re at a location that we’ve never seen you at before,” a Tiburon police officer said to Khalif, co-owner of Yema.

According to the footage, cops continued to badger Khalif and Awash until a nearby white store owner told authorities that the couple did in fact own the store.

On Tuesday (April 19), the city of Tiburon handed down the monetary settlement and agreed to form a community advisory board that will help vet future police officers hired by the department. Khalif and Awash will serve on the board which aims to prevent more of these incidents from happening.

Khalif said during Tuesday’s press conference, “We are not begging, we are demanding to be treated with love, with dignity and with respect.”

His wife Awash and co-owner of their store added, “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.”

The Tiburon police department has also committed to increasing its racial bias training.

Awash hopes these efforts will make their city more inclusive and that the nation will follow suit.

"We are doing something that is substantial that will help Tiburon and that will hopefully be an example for the rest of the U.S.," Awash said.

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