“#Cop punches black Alabama store owner who reported robbery, video shows”
June 9, 2020 | 9:41am
Kevin Penn, 47, suffered a broken jaw in the March 15 incident that got renewed attention over the weekend because the clip surfaced on social media, showing an officer punching him at Star Spirits & Beverages in Decatur, AL.com reports.
Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen told reporters Monday that Penn — who called cops to report a robbery and said he had a suspect at gunpoint – refused to put down his gun as officer arrived at the liquor store.
Penn, according to body-cam video played at the press conference, moved his hand over a gun lying on a counter next to him while holding a magazine with his other hand, Allen said.
The footage, which wasn’t released to reporters, doesn’t clearly show what unfolded, but Penn appeared to be refusing to put down a gun as an officer punched him, body-cam video shows.
Penn’s attorney, Carl Cole, said the business owner showed the gun to the officers to ensure they knew he was armed. Penn then took out a clip and ejected a bullet from the firearm’s chamber, Cole told AL.com.
One officer said Penn “refused to obey lawful commands” to put down and back away from the gun, court records show.
The unidentified cop who punched Penn is now on desk duty pending an internal investigation, AL.com reports.
“We wanted to show that because one thing I strive to do is build relationship with community,” Allen told reporters of the body-cam footage. “We need to be very transparent; we need to be very open. But most of all, we need our citizens to respect the police department and we need the police department to respect the citizens.”
Penn’s attorney said the punch left the business owner with a broken jaw. He also lost some teeth and had his mouth wired shut for weeks, Cole said.
Penn, who was arrested for obstructing government operations, had actually called police to report a shoplifter at his store, police said Monday.
Body-cam video appeared to show a suspect on the ground, but that person has not been identified by police, AL.com reports.
Allen said the other two officers seen in the footage remain employed by the department, WAFF reports.
Penn intends to make a public statement soon, Cole told AL.com. He also plans to sue the Decatur police, Allen acknowledged during Monday’s press conference, WAFF reports.