The Baton Rouge Triple S Food Mart owner who caught Alton Sterling's tragic death on tape claims that police took his cell phone video, as well as surveillance footage from his store, without a search warrant, locking him in a car for several hours.
Abdullah Muflahi, the convenient store owner, has since filed a lawsuit against the police department, naming officers Blane Salamoni, Howie Lake, Robert Cook, Timothy Ballard, and Police Chief Carl Dabadi.
As Radar previously reported, Sterling, 37, was wrestled to the ground by two police officers after midnight on July 5. After yelling "gun!" to his fellow officer, one cop fired five shots at Sterling, who was hit both in the chest and back.
"I felt like a criminal at the time, and there's one of the detectives that I knocked on the window and told him it was really hot and I asked if I could sit outside by the car," Muflahi told the New York Daily News of being locked in a car following the incident. "And he just got really angry and started saying 'you need to chill the f**k out until we get this because we're handling something right now.'"
"It wasn't right and I shouldn't have been treated like I was the one who shot the guy," he added. "They didn't handcuff me or read me any rights. They just put me in the back of a car. The seat was really hot and it felt like I was sitting on hot coals."
According to Muflahi, police confiscated his cell phone and surveillance footage from his store without obtaining a search warrant first.
"Not only did Sterling lose his life but my client lost his liberty," Joel Porter, Muflahi's attorney, told the Daily News. "They act like this is a police state, like it's North Korea, like they can do this without impunity."
"This was done in order to intimidate my client," Porter continued. "They did not want him to tell the truth."
Muflahi is seeking damages for false arrest, false imprisonment, the illegal taking and seizing of his security system and illegally commandeering his business, according to the publication.