Authorities in Alabama showed body-camera video Monday of a police officer punching a liquor store owner who called 911 to report a robbery in March.
The owner of the store, Kevin Penn, of Decatur, suffered a broken jaw in the confrontation March 15 and was charged with obstruction after refusing to put down a gun, NBC affiliate WAFF of Huntsville reported.
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The video shows the officer striking Penn after a brief argument.
Penn’s lawyer, Carl Cole, told AL.com that Penn showed the gun to the officers to make sure they knew he was armed. He then removed the clip and ejected the bullet from the chamber, Cold told the site.
Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen told reporters that the officer punched Penn “when he became more agitated and angry” and put his hand over a gun on the store counter.
“That’s what caused the immediate charge of the officer,” he said.
Asked whether it was proper procedure to punch someone, Allen said the department’s policies require using the least amount of force “to get the job done.”
“I’d much rather have a punch than a shooting,” he added.
Allen said a suspect was later apprehended for shoplifting at the liquor store. The officer who punched Penn is on administrative duty during an internal investigation, he said.