The owners of a bar and restaurant near Ferguson, Missouri, said they lost thousands of dollars when they were forced to close to make way for a law enforcement command center.
Corey and Chantelle Nickson-Clark, owners of Swiish Bar and Grill in Jennings, Missouri, filed a lawsuit last month against Gov. Jay Nixon, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and local authorities seeking at least $25,000. In a civil complaint, the couple said they were ordered to close for 17 days in August as law enforcement turned their parking lot into its command center.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney general told St. Louis Public Radio she could not comment on pending litigation. Other agencies named in the lawsuit were not immediately available for comment.
As protests sometimes turned violent in Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown, a number of businesses faced property damage. Swiish didn't see physical damage to their business; instead, the couple said they lost income as their doors were blocked and food stocks were left to rot.
Authorities did not have permission to use the lot and did not offer compensation, according to the complaint.
At one point, Corey Nickson-Clark attempted to access his business and was threatened with arrest, the complaint continued. Ultimately, the command center was moved, and the business reopened in late August.
In an interview with Fox 2 on Aug. 31, the couple announced their doors were again open. They had only been open for two and a half months before the command center took over, they said, and losses caused by the temporary closure were "financially tragic."
"We really didn't know what to think," Corey Nickson-Clark said. "I thought it would only be a day or two, but it ended up being 17 days."
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.