A Black store owner who called the cops to report a robbery at his shop was punched by an officer who apparently mistook him for the suspect.
According to AL.com, the incident occurred on March 15, but has only caught attention after surveillance footage made its way to social media over the weekend.
Kevin Penn, 47, the owner of Star Spirits & Beverages in Decatur called police to report a robbery, noting that he was holding the suspect at gunpoint.
Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen told AL.com that because Penn was armed and officers were responding to a robbery, he was mistaken for the suspect.
Body camera footage that police played during a press conference on Monday showed officer telling Penn to put his gun down, and Penn apparently refused. As AL.com notes, the body camera footage does not seem to clearly show what happened and was edited with captions and delayed at certain parts.
Allen says Penn then moved his hand over the gun that was next to him, adding that he was holding a magazine (ammunition) in his other hand, which an officer may have mistaken for a gun.
“We do know there was a gun there, we do know that the magazines were there, we do know that he was reloading the magazine,” Allen said at the news conference.
Penn’s lawyer, Carl Cole told AL.com that he had shown the gun to officers so that they would know he was armed and then took out the clip and removed the bullet from the chamber.
An officer who was just walking into the store is seen walking straight up to Penn and punching him hard in the face.
That officer has not been publicly identified, but Allen said that he was placed on desk duty pending an internal investigation. The incident has been under investigation since it first occurred, AL.com notes.
Penn sustained serious injuries from the punch, including having his teeth knocked out and a broken jaw. His mouth was wired shut for several weeks, his lawyer told the news site.
And even though Penn was the one who called officers to report the robbery, he was arrested for obstructing governmental operations for hampering the investigation of the robbery, according to the report.