Tiburon Police: Threat Against Yema was ‘Immature Prank,’ not Hate Crime

Store owner says incident should be strongly condemned by community

Additional reporting by Nikki Silverstein

The Tiburon Police Department has concluded that an Instagram post threatening the town’s only Black-owned retail store was an “irresponsible” prank by two local teenagers, not a hate crime.

The Instagram post, which was removed sometime after it was brought to the attention of the store’s owners on Monday night, read “If Biden wins me and the boys gonna go raid yemma 4:00 on Election Day show up.” Although the name of the store was misspelled, the post included a picture of Yema, a retail store in downtown Tiburon that is owned by a Black couple.

The post came a day after more than one thousand Trump supporters arrived in a Marin City parking lot, yelling at residents of Marin County’s only Black neighborhood who came out to confront the caravan.

Yema’s owners, Hawi Awash and her husband Yema Khalif, and their supporters, were put on edge by the Instagram post. A few dozen people dropped by the store on Tuesday afternoon to support Yema.

After investigating the matter, Tiburon Police concluded that the post was an effort to attract more followers on a social media account.

“Tiburon Police Officers [have] determined that the Instagram post regarding the Yema business was created by two juveniles, a 14 year old from Belvedere and a 13 year old from Tiburon,” the agency’s statement reads.

In an interview Tuesday, Awash said that the post should offer an opportunity to teach Marin County children about acceptable behavior.

“We need to work as a community on the way we teach our children and the conversations we have in our households,” Awash told the Pacific Sun. “This is a good learning opportunity to teach children to never make threats and never endanger anyone else.”

After consulting the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, the Tiburon Police decided that the post “does not meet the merit of a hate crime.” Instead, the post was “an irresponsible and immature prank by juveniles,” according to the department’s statement.

Yema, the store’s owner, used stronger words.

“This behavior is unacceptable. The community needs to condemn this strongly,” Yema said on Tuesday.

Will Carruthers
Will Carruthers is a news reporter for the Pacific Sun and North Bay Bohemian. Email tips to [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Carruthers_W.
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