Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the Triple S Food Mart outside which Alton Sterling was killed by two Baton Rouge police officers, is now suing the police department for unlawful detention and confiscating the store’s surveillance video without a warrant.
Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot multiple times by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers on July 5 for allegedly waving a gun at an unidentified person, sparking countrywide protests and a series of retaliatory actions against perceived racism within law enforcement agencies. Videos of the incident showed that Sterling was still being tasered when he was fatally shot, raising allegations that the two police officers involved in the killing had used inappropriate force to subdue the black man.
Moreover, the Baton Rouge Police Department was accused of attempting to silence witnesses, one of them being the store owner, Muflahi, who was detained for making a second video of the incident on his cellphone. Muflahi later alleged that police officers unlawfully held him in detention for hours while they also confiscated his cell phone and the store’s surveillance video without his permission.
In fact, as reported earlier by the Inquisitr, Muflahi suggested that the two police officers who killed Alton had the wrong man altogether.
Here is the video that the store owner shot on his cell phone. It was released by Muflahi in the presence of his lawyer a day after Alton Sterling’s shooting. Inexplicably, the video has drawn Muflahi a lot of flak for merely recording and releasing it, with some viewers blaming him for instigating the Dallas police shootings that claimed the lives of four law enforcement officials as well as injuring another nine.
According to Pri.org, Yemen-born Muflahi, who moved to the Detroit area when he was still a kid, is suing the two Baton Rouge police officers involved in Alton Sterling’s killing, namely Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, along with the police department and the city for unlawful detention and the confiscation of the entire security system of his store without his permission.
The petition first reconstructs the incidents as they unfolded on that fateful night.
“As the Officers Salamoni and Lake began the altercation with Mr. Sterling by shooting Sterling and then shocking him with a taser device and later did so or attempted to do so a second time and knocking Mr. Sterling to the ground.
“Plaintiff Muflahi began to videotape the events on his cell phone. While the events were being recorded events escalated out of control to the point that defendant Salamoni shot Mr. Sterling multiple times and killed Mr. Sterling as he lay on his back on the ground.”
It then goes on to describe the immediate aftermath of the incident.
“Immediately after the killing of Mr. Sterling Officer Salamoni, BRPD came inside Triple S Food Mart and without a warrant confiscated the entire store security system and took Plaintiff Muflahi into custody.
“[Officers] placed Mr. Muflahi into custody, confiscated his cell phone and illegally locked him in the back of a police vehicle and detained him there for approximately four hours in the back of BRPD’s vehicle.”
You can access the full petition by clicking here.
Muflahi said that the incidents of that night, and the humiliation he had to undergo in front of his customers and members of his community at the hands of the police after Alton Sterling’s death, have left him emotionally jaded.
“They threw me in the back of a cop car for almost four hours,” Muflahi recalled.
“It was hot, the seat was hot, and when I [told] them that I needed to use the bathroom, a cop escorted me to behind a building — one of the neighboring buildings — and told me to go there while people were walking [by] to go see what was going on in front of the store.
“A lot of people thought I had got arrested and [that] I had something to do with it.
“They violated my rights. I was just a witness to a horrible scene [that] left me traumatized and kind of emotionally unstable.”
[Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]