Yema Khalif, a Kibra-born businessman based in California, USA is set to receive $150,000 (Sh13million) from the town of Tiburon after he and his wife Hawi Awash were racially profiled by police officers while working inside their own store“We are not begging, we are demanding to be treated with love, with dignity and with respect,” Khalif revealed at a press conference in Tiburon.
“This isn’t about just me and Yema,” Awash added. “It’s about every single black and brown person that comes into the Tiburon community, that comes into the Belvedere community.”The incident is said to have occurred in late August 2020 as the Western world cried out for justice after George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police.
The couple were approached by a police officer identified as Isaac Madfes late one night as they restocked their sportswear store. Yema, the menswear boutique was the town’s only Black owned business.
“Is there a problem?” Khalif asked Madfes to which he responded by saying: “I don’t want to argue. I just want you to tell me why you’re here.” Khalif then asked to speak to supervising office Sgt. Michael Blasi who then asked the former to stick his key in the lock to prove his ownership.The situation diffused when a white neighbor yelled out to the police that it was, indeed, their store. “The officer should have knocked, introduced himself, and explained he was patrolling Main Street,” Awash said. “But instead it was more like, Who are you? And prove yourself.”
As part of the settlement, the town of Tiburon has agreed to create a community advisory board. Members will be able to help vet candidates for the Tiburon police department. Khalif and Awash will be part of that board.