'Triple S' store owner talks about his meeting with feds
BATON ROUGE- For the first time since his meeting with federal investigators and the Department of Justice, Abdul Muflahi, the owner of the Triple S Store where Alton Sterling was killed, is talking about what was discussed.
Muflahi said he's met with federal investigators at least three times, and had to give them special codes to get into his security system that was set up around his store.
"I've had multiple meetings with them, and asked a lot of questions," Muflahi said. I gave them my answers, and what I saw."
Muflahi said they listened, and tonight he's confident a thorough investigation into Alton Sterling's death is underway. He also filmed cell phone video from the stoop of his store, which captured the moment Sterling was shot.
"I never saw him reaching for his weapon," Muflahi said. "I never saw him pull out a weapon."
Last year, Muflahi and his attorney Joel Porter filed a lawsuit against the city of Baton Rouge and the officers involved. He claims his rights were violated after he was detained for an unreasonable amount of time.
The lawsuit states,"officers illegally placed Mr. Muflahi into custody, confiscated his phone, and illegally locked him in the back of a police vehicle and detained him for approximately four hours."
It happened as investigators scoured the scene.
"I didn't know I needed to be locked up inside of a car or inside of an office for them to do that," Muflahi said.
In a response to Muflahi's lawsuit, lawyers within the parish attorney's office denied many of his claims. However they didn't elaborate. When I asked them to comment, they said they couldn't comment because it's pending litigation.
"He could not even go to the bathroom in his own building," Joel Porter, Muflahi's attorney said. "They forced him to go to the bathroom on the side of a building in front of the viewing public."
Porter says what police did to his client was inexcusable.
Muflahi's attorney goes on to say, "During the four-hour period of illegal detention in the back of the locked police vehicle, police would not return Plaintiff Muflahi's cell phone, and thereby prevented him from calling his family or his attorney to secure his release.
"Anytime someone's liberty or ability to move is restrained, that is an arrest," Porter said. "When he was locked in a hot police car for two hours, that's an arrest. He was not permitted to leave."
As Muflahi and the rest of the community wait for an impending decision from the feds, Porter claims his client has been forever changed after what he witnessed and the treatment that followed.
In addition to denying many of Muflahi's claims, the city states the officers who detained Muflahi acted proper and reasonable. The city said the investigation was done promptly. Porter said his client intends to press on with litigation, claiming he was unlawfully detained.
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