Store owner sues Baton Rouge police, city over treatment after Alton Sterling shooting

Store owner files lawsuit

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - New details surrounding Alton Sterling's death include a back-and-forth between Baton Rouge police and the owner of the Triple S Food Store where Sterling was shot.

On Monday, Abdullah Maflahi filed a lawsuit against several parties, including The City of Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Police Department, for how he says he was handled after Sterling's death.

"After they had shot him, one of the cops that was involved in the shooting grabbed me and push me toward another officer that came after they called for back-up and told him to put me in the back of a car," Maflahi said.

Maflahi recorded a video of the fatal shooting on his cell phone.

The store owner said he spent hours detained in the back of a BRPD cruiser while officers went through his store and took his surveillance video recorder. He said officers also took his phone, leaving him with no way to call his lawyer nor his family.

The store owner also claimed that the only time he was able to leave the back of the cruiser was to use the restroom, but he said officers would not let him in his store and instead made him urinate on the side of his building.

Maflahi said after he was detained by BRPD, he then spent two more hours at State Police headquarters for questioning.

"[Officers] made me feel like a criminal, like I was the one who shot him," Maflahi said.

"This is not a police state that we live in. The Baton Rouge Police Department and these police officers should be held accountable for this kind of illegal activity. They illegally detained my client. They illegally took his cell phone," said Maflahi's attorney, Joel Porter.

Porter believes the surveillance taken from his client's store was done so illegally. He claims since there were no charges against the officers, the search warrant fails to say what laws were broken in order to obtain it.

"If Baton Rouge city police within hours after the killing of Mr. Sterling made a conclusion that the killing was justifiable, then that means you didn't have a crime. That you don't have probable cause. That you don't have the basis for a warrant. So they have seized this man's equipment. They seized him. They detained him without what, the proper authority of the law," Porter said.

On Monday, Baton Rouge police filed the affidavit for a search warrant for the store's surveillance video. The document says a Revo-brand video surveillance digital video recorder was taken from the store around 5 a.m. on July 5. The affidavit also gives the officer's account of what they said took place the night of Sterling's death.

In the affidavit, the officers said after getting a complaint about someone matching Sterling's description threatening someone with a gun, officers arrived to Triple S and confronted Sterling. The officers said Sterling failed to comply and they deployed their tasers, which had little affect on Sterling.

The affidavit then says one of the officers saw the butt of Sterling's gun coming out of his pocket.

The officers then say Sterling attempted to reach for the gun, and that's when one of the officers fired his weapon to "stop the threat."

Maflahi alleges Sterling never reached for his gun.

"I did not see any gun present until they went into his pocket to pull it out," he said.

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