An Alabama liquor store owner has sued in federal court after a police officer responding to a robbery call at his store punched him in the face and broke his jaw two years ago.
Kevin Penn, 47, the owner of Star Spirits & Beverages, sued the city of Decatur and police officer Justin Rippen on March 11 in federal court but has only caught attention after surveillance footage made its way to social media over the weekend.
It also contends Penn’s Constitutional rights were violated, and that he was a victim of excessive force, illegal seizure, and false arrest. It seeks punitive and compensatory damages. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court.
On March 15, 2020, Penn caught an alleged shoplifter in his store and phoned the police as he held the accused thief at gunpoint. Penn waved officers into the store and placed his firearm, from which he removed the clip, on the counter beside him. When officers approached Penn, he had only the clip in his hand.
After officers secured the accused thief, who was lying just inside the front door of the store, the video shows them approaching Penn and begin shouting. Penn shouts back. An officer who was just walking into the store is seen walking straight up to Penn and punching him hard in the face.
The blow, according to the lawsuit, broke Penn’s jaw and knocked out a tooth. Penn was arrested and charged with obstructing a robbery investigation.
Penn underwent several weeks of treatment, including having his mouth wired shut, his lawyer said at the time.
Watch the video here