Police Investigate Threat to ‘Raid’ California Town’s Only Black-Owned Store If Joe Biden Is Elected

Yema business owners Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash speak with Fox 2 reporters about their confrontation with Tiburon police officers in August, 2020.
Yema business owners Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash speak with Fox 2 reporters about their confrontation with Tiburon police officers in August, 2020.
Screenshot: Fox 2/ KTVU

Police in Tiburon, Calif., are investigating a threat leveled against the city’s only Black-owned business. According to investigators, a social media post threatened to “raid” the local clothing store—which made headlines in August after the owners accused Tiburon police of racial profiling—if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the presidential election.

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Yema—a clothing store on Main Street and “the only business in town with Black proprietors,” according to The Mercury News—was targeted by an Instagram post from a now-deactivated account that read, “If Biden wins me and the boys gonna go raid yemma, 4:00 on Election Day show up.”

The post, which came from an account under the handle “griffin.williams72,” was accompanied by a photo of Yema’s storefront.

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From the Mercury News:

Concerned citizens forwarded the post to the store’s owners, Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash.

Khalif, an immigrant from Kenya, said the post is “horrible, it shows all the hate coming out.”

Khalif said the citizens who shared the post with them are parents of students at Del Mar Middle School. He said they were shown the post by their child who follows the account.

“Where we come from, we are not allowed to make those jokes,” Khalif said. “We take it as a full threat, and that’s how we look at it.”

Khalif, Awash and their store were in the news in August after the couple accused police officers of profiling and harassing them. They said that, around 1 a.m., they observed a patrol car repeatedly circling the block and parking across the street from the store to watch them before coming in to confront them. The officers informed them that the street “closes at 9 o’clock at night, and this isn’t regular business hours,” asked “Is this your store?” and demanded to see identification. Cell phone video footage of the confrontation went viral on social media.

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“We’ve lived in this community for 10 years, we are the only Black-owned store in Tiburon, and people know who we are,” Khalif told Fox 2 at the time. He also expressed frustration that “somebody who is white had to vouch for us” in order for the cops—who had the gall to suggest the couple “should be grateful” for what they considered to be clear racial profiling—to leave them alone.

As for the most recent threat to the store made by an apparently enthusiastic Trump supporter willing to commit an act of domestic terrorism if their cult leader isn’t reelected, Town Manager Greg Chanis said interim police Chief Jamie Scardina is aware of the post and will increase police patrol in the area. (Which may be kind of an “out of the frying pan, into the fire” situation for the couple who already has a contentious history with local police.)

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“Given the day today and everything else going on, we will take it as a serious threat,” Chanis said, the Mercury News reports. “We will react accordingly.”

Meanwhile, Khalif and Awash are just thankful that the Tiburon community warned them about the threat.

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“We commend the person who reached out because if the community turns a blind eye to this hateful rhetoric it’ll take root,” Khalif said. “Right now the person who reached out to make us aware allowed us to put out a warning, otherwise we would not have known and we would have been blindsided by the whole thing.”

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

yf-19
Willie Sherman did nothing wrong, except stop

If they get big enough to move into a new store. Yema’s owners should move to a city that is less racist.