State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, right, D-Baton Rouge, stands outside Triple S Food Mart with Abdullah Muflahi, the owner and manager of the store in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Alton Sterling was shot and killed during a scuffle with police officers outside the store Tuesday, Muflahi said Sterling was not holding a gun during the shooting but that he saw officers remove one from his pocket afterward. 

Travis Spradling/The Advocate via AP

Abdullah Muflahi, who owns the convenience store where Sterling was killed, said that his video footage of the shooting was seized without his permission.

Taylor Lewis
Jul, 12, 2016

The man who filmed the death of Alton Sterling last week has filed a lawsuit against the city claiming that he was illegally detained following the shooting.

The Daily Beast reports that Abdullah Muflahi owned the convenience store where Sterling was shot. When police arrived on the scene, Muflahi began filming on his cell phone. However, immediately after the shooting, lawyers for Muflahi said that his cell phone and security footage were seized, and he was detained for four hours in the back of a police van. According to the Daily Beast, police failed to file an application for a warrant until yesterday.

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“The warrant gives the Baton Rouge Police Department the authority to search the surveillance video on the recording device; it doesn’t give them the authority to seize the device,” attorney Joel Porter said to the Daily Beast.

The lawsuit claims that following the shooting, Officer Blane Salamoni, who shot Sterling, told other officers on the scene to confiscate the “entire store security system.” Muflahi was not asked to sign a “voluntary consent to search” form before the officers began gathering footage.

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“I told them I would like to be in the store when [they took it],” Muflahi said, adding that that wasn’t the case.
Muflahi’s lawsuit is seeking an unidentified amount in damages for “false arrest, false imprisonment, the illegal taking and seizing of his security system [and] illegally commandeering his business.”

Sterling’s family, who intends to file a lawsuit agains the city as well, is calling for release of the video footage.

“If we are searching for the truth,” an attorney for Sterling’s family said, “it starts here.”