*A black store owner in Alabama who called police to report that his store had robbed was mistaken for the perpetrator by a white cop who arrived on scene.
In video of the March 15th incident, which went public Monday evening (Jun 8), 47-year-old Kevin Penn is seen having an argument with two white cops that showed up at his liquor store Star Spirits & Beverages in Decatur. Then one of the offices punches Penn in the face. A third police officer appears, and the three of them struggle to get Penn subdued.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Decatur police Chief Nate Allen said his officers punched Penn because they thought he was the robber. Police showed body cam footage of the incident, in which the white Alabama cop told Penn to lower his weapon, and Penn refused. Per AL.com, Penn’s lawyer said Penn showed the gun to the officers to make sure they knew he was armed. He then removed the clip and ejected the bullet from the chamber to make it clear that he wasn’t dangerous.
Penn was handcuffed and arrested for obstructing governmental operations. Court records show that the officers claimed he was preventing them from investigating the robbery. Penn’s lawyer says he suffered long term physical injuries from the incident, including a broken jaw. The fracture required several weeks of treatment and that his jaw be wired shut. His lawyer also pointed out that it was Penn who called the police and asked for help, and who had apprehended a shoplifter and was waiting for them to arrive.
Chief Allen defended the actions of his officers, but confirmed that the cop who punched Penn has been put on desk duty pending a full investigation of the incident. Allen also said his department has been investigating the incident since the day after it happened.
Watch the entire incident below, or click here to view at AL.com:
An armed black business owner mistaken for a robber was punched in the face by a white Alabama cop – after calling to report being robbed.
The situation happened nearly three months ago on March 15 but just became public due to this security clip… pic.twitter.com/zQQrfDSYHP
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) June 9, 2020