DECATUR, Ala. – An Alabama liquor store owner who called 911 to report a robbery was punched in the face by one of the police officers who responded to his business.
The Decatur Police Department showed bodycam footage of the incident at Star Spirits & Beverages during a press conference held on Monday.
The video shows officers enter the store on March 15, walk past the suspect and ask owner Kevin Penn to put down his firearm. When Penn refused, saying “I have a right to have my gun,” an officer punched the armed man and wrestled him to the ground.
Penn’s attorney, Carl Cole, told AL.com that his client was using the gun to hold the suspect at gunpoint and he also showed the gun to the officers to make sure they knew he was armed before taking out the clip and ejecting the bullet from the chamber.
The attorney told WAFF that Penn was charged with obstruction of government operations because he refused to put down the gun.
Cole told AL.com that the punch broke his client’s jaw, some of his teeth were knocked out and he underwent several weeks of treatment, including having his mouth wired shut.
During Monday’s press briefing, Police Chief Nate Allen said all officers saw was a gun in a man’s hand, so they reacted.
Allen said all three of the officers involved are still employed by the department, with two patrolling the streets and the officer who punched Penn working a desk job.
The police chief said the incident at the store turned out to be a shoplifting, rather than a robbery. He added that the shoplifting suspect was later apprehended.
Below is the police department’s statement on the incident: