I was working on a post to list all of the police chiefs in the U.S. who have resigned due to the riots and actions of ignorant city officials. When researching one name – Michael Cronin, I decided that this one story went a long way toward putting all of this in perspective.
The town of Tiburon, California is situated just north of San Francisco, and directly across San Francisco Bay, west of Berkeley and Richmond, .
Tiburon has a population of less than 10,000 residents. It is an incorporated town within Marin County, with a police department that employs 12 officers. The median income is $151,429. The median property value is $1.92 Million, and the population is 83.1% White (Non-Hispanic) according to datausa.io.
A search on Realtor.com shows that there are 71 homes for sale in the city, ranging from $650K to $95M. Let’s just say, I don’t think that Tiburon has a “bad” part of town.
On August 21, at around 1am, an officer on patrol noticed three people inside a clothing store. According to news stories, he circled the store a couple of times, and then parked outside and observed for a few minutes. I cannot find any independent corroboration, but based on what I know from my experiences on the street, and conversations heard on bodycam video, I believe he was likely also awaiting backup officers to arrive before approaching the store.
The officer turns on his body cam, and approaches the store. Here is what happened.
In the video, the store owner is an abhorrent jackass from the word “GO.”
Before I go any further with this story, consider how differently this whole exchange could have gone, had the store owner simply stated, “Yes, I own the store, here is my ID, I’m here doing inventory. Thanks so much for checking on my store.. Sometimes I work late at night.”
Of course, race became the big issue here. But who was the first to bring it up? At 4 minutes and 15 seconds on the video, it is not the cop, but the store owner who injects race into the conversation, and continues to play that card over and over again throughout the incident.
Let’s also take note of several other things that didn’t happen in this incident. No cop on scene ever uttered the “N” word, or otherwise denigrated this moron for being black. No one shot him. No one beat him. Hell, no one even arrested him.
But the story did not end there. Of course the jackass store owner, named Yema Khalif, made a HUGE stink about it, claiming to be “traumatized” by the incident. Does he look “traumatized” in this video?
Now, what right did the cops have to “harass” this poor, innocent black store owner who is so “traumatized” by a 15 minute encounter that has launched him into a local celebrity status that he never would have achieved from just selling ridiculous looking clothing to a community full of over-privileged, rich white kids?
The cops had EVERY right, under a 1968 US Supreme Court case titled Terry v Ohio. This case underpins every “Stop and Frisk” policy in the United States. Now, before we move forward, we need to mentally cut the the “Frisk” part of the law out of this, because it didn’t occur here and wasn’t a factor. But the case law is still relevant.
So, the Supreme Court stated in 1968 that, “Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a police officer may stop a suspect … if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.“
Now, let’s weigh the facts against what the law says. The cops clearly did not know Kalif. (And, it would seem clear that Kalif would have gone out of his way NOT to know the local police, judging by his obvious distain for them.) It was 1am – a time at which clothing stores in a town of less than 10,000 rich white people are normally closed. (Face it, this wasn’t a WalMart). So, the officer knocks on the door, which anyone could have done, not just cops. And the officer politely asks for Kalif to identify himself and explain his being in the store with two other people at 1am. If Kalif had done that, this encounter would not have gone any further. But he did not do that. In fact his refusal to identify himself and explain his activity actually escalated the encounter.
Once Kalif refused to identify himself and explain the circumstances of his being in a store at 1am, the police officer had a right – a duty in fact – to figure out what exactly was going on. They were well within the guardrails of the law when they refused to leave and continued to insist that Kalif identify himself.
As the video shows, yes, the sergeant got a little heated. It wasn’t racism. It was frustration over the fact that some ass-hat simply refused to make everyone’s life easy and just tell the cops that he was the owner of the store.
I’ll give you one better: Yema Kalif owed it to the 9000 OTHER residents of Tiburon to simply identify himself and let the cops get back to their jobs. With only twelve officers in the department, I think I can safely assume that 3 cops was the entire shift that night. So no one else’s homes or businesses were being protected while Yema Kalif played mental “Whack a Mole” with the cops.
Do I find anything wrong with the cops’ handling of the situation? Yeah, just two things, and they are only a matter of personal practice. The sergeant at some point, in my humble opinion, should have known and invoked whatever law he was acting under. Rather than repeating that he was confronting Kalif because of the time and the circumstances, and asking him what he would do in such a situation, I believe the sergeant would have been on much stronger footing had he explained that “California State Statute such and such states …” and rested his actions on that. Then, it takes him and his personal “feelings” out of the equation. I don’t know California law, but in Florida we have Statute 856.021, which covers pretty much any suspicious activity, and gives cops a good, solid legal position on which to stop someone and demand to know what they are up to. If California doesn’t have such a statute, then he could have just as easily invoked the US Supreme Court case of Terry vs Ohio and the legal findings therein.
Item number two was the initial officer’s final little dig at Kalif, at the end of the video, asking him one last time to put his keys in the door, after the sergeant had already determined that he was satisfied over another store owner hollering across the street that Kalif was the owner of the clothing store. Once the sergeant said “Okay, let’s go” and walked away, the other officers should have walked away too. In my opinion, Officer “Isaac” was riding a little power trip and couldn’t find the “OFF” switch. Unprofessional, but not a huge deal. A cop can ask anyone to do anything at any time. It’s only when they make someone do something that they have to be on solid legal ground.
Again, legally and ethically, these cops did nothing wrong at all.
So, on with the story.
After Kalif whined to a few people about how hurt his feelings were, the town council members were outraged. The mayor couldn’t wait to issue a big public apology and suck up to this self-righteous bastard. They convened a big virtual meeting to let the town residents vent about how outraged they were over the horrific racism and bigotry that had oozed its way into their very own police department. The town council, by the way, is ALL WHITE. Not one single black, or Asian, or Latino sit on that council. What the hell is this world coming to???
Not to be out-staged, the rich white people of Tiburon came out to join the rest of the insane leftists infecting California, and had their own version of a “Black Lives Matter” rally, and even included a few token black people:
Yeah, Tiburon! Way to show your “street cred” by being “down wit the struggle!”
But the story didn’t end there either.
On September 1, the sergeant had to resign. News stories claim his resignation letter stated that he “believes it would be difficult to continue being effective as a police officer in Tiburon.” He’s right. With the mayor and town council wallowing in ignorance, no officer can be effective. Clearly, now, there are two sets of laws: one for whites, and one for blacks. And the cops don’t even get the benefit of a copy of the “Tiburon Criminal Statutes for African Californians” so they can know what the special laws are.
But, the story doesn’t end there either. The Chief decide to retire effective September 13, claiming that it was not related to the incident.
Now, Chief Michael Cronin can claim anything he wants, but I call bullshit. It seems clear to me that he did in fact retire because of this incident, and I cannot blame him one bit. What are the sheepdogs supposed to do when the sheep turn on them and embrace the wolves?
The people I DO blame are the idiot residents of Tiburon who jumped on the feel-good bandwagon and joined in on the new fad of protesting their own cops. I also blame the Tiburon residents who are actually sane, saw this fiasco for what it was, but sat like cowards and said nothing.
The residents of Tiburon don’t deserve their own police force. Not if this is the way they are going to treat the cops. What they deserve is to have all of those cops walk off the job, and have a bunch of low-income housing built right in the middle of their town. Then, move a tenth of South Central L.A. into the city limits. Put your money where your mouths are, Tiburon.
But they won’t do that. All of these virtue-signaling snowflakes waving their signs in front of the police station are the very idiots who would call the cops in a heartbeat if they saw a black guy standing on the sidewalk in a hoodie outside their million-dollar mansions.
I had numerous encounters like this when I was a cop. They were non-issues. But sometimes, they were the very thing that stopped a burglary in progress. THIS incident was a non-issue. The town council and the residents of Tiburon, California lashed out at their own cops for doing their jobs. As far as I’m concerned, let the Tiburon residents patrol their own damned streets!
Let me know what you think in the comments section at the very bottom of the page.
Brian Whiddon is a 15 year police veteran and author of BLUE LIVES MATTER – The Heart Behind The Badge. It will be out soon, available from his publisher Booklocker.com, Amazon, and wherever books are sold.
2 thoughts on “THIS is How Bad it’s Gotten…”
Brian, I read your post with interest. Could I trouble you to direct me to US Constitutional law that requires a person to identify themselves (except by driver’s license in a valid traffic stop), or to speak to police or respond to any police questions in any encounter? Thank you.
Oh, James – that was a good trick. Nice try, but I’m no fool.
I’ve testified in court WAY too many times, facing off with WAY too many lawyers to fall for your little word play. Nowhere did I ever say that people have to “speak to police or respond to any police questions in any encounter”.
Terry v Ohio is very clear about when a person is compelled to identify themselves and answer questions of police.
In fact, I wrote in my book about a specific incident in which I confronted that very situation – an officer arresting someone he just “rolled up” on for not identifying and answering questions, when it was clear that the subject was not doing anything suspicious.
You should read it – Blue Lives Matter – The Heart Behind the Badge. – https://booklocker.com/books/11192.html
And THANK YOU for your comment.