The Baton Rouge store owner who captured the death of Alton Sterling on video is suing local police for their alleged actions after the fatal shooting, the Daily Beast reported.
Abdullah Muhlafi’s lawsuit stated that Officer Blane Salamoni, who shot Sterling after pinning him to the ground with the help of Officer Howie Lake II, ordered two other colleagues to seize Muhlafi’s “entire store security system” while also taking his cell phone. Muhlafi was then locked inside a patrol car for four hours.
Muhlafi has said that police “stole” video contradicting their claim that Sterling had a gun in his hand. The Beast reported that Muhlafi never signed a form giving police his consent to conduct a search, and that officers never filed an application for a search warrant.
A lawyer for the department, Brandi Lawrence, would not confirm whether a warrant existed or not. The whereabouts of the video are unclear, though Lawrence reportedly suggested that it had been given to FBI officials.
The suit also argues that police refused to let him use an actual restroom during his confinement outside the store.
“The officers would not allow Mr. Muflahi to use the restroom inside of his business establishment and he was escorted to the side of his building and forced to relieve himself right there within arm distance of a BPRD officer and in full view of the public,” it stated.
The suit accuses Lake, Salamoni, fellow officer Timothy Ballard, and Lt. Robert Cook — as well as Police Chief Carl Dabadi — of “false arrest, false imprisonment, the illegal taking and seizing of his security system, illegally commandeering [Muflahi’s] business.”
Sterling’s death sparked protests against police violence around the country, including one demonstration in Baton Rouge that led to the arrests of around 100 people.