Body-cam footage shows officer punching Alabama store owner who called 911 to report robbery

Authorities in Alabama showed body-camera footage Monday of a police officer punching a liquor store owner who called 911 to report a robbery this spring.

The owner of the store, Kevin Penn, of Decatur, suffered a broken jaw in the March 15 confrontation and was charged with obstruction after refusing to put down a gun, NBC affiliate WAFF reported.

The footage 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 if 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 that 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.

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