Black Customer Denied Service At Portland Gas Station After Employee Assumes He'll Use Gas To Riot
“He asked if I was a Black Lives protester, rioter, kinda smirked and said, ‘I'm not giving you any gas,'" Dominique DeWeese said.
October 16, 2020 at 4:21 pm
A Black Portland man left a gas station dismayed after being denied gas for his lawnmower because of his race.
According to KGW8, Dominique DeWeese recorded his interaction with the racist attendant, who described the customer as a rioter and refused to let him buy gas.
“I asked for gas and the gentleman just looked at me and he told me, ‘No,’” DeWeese told the news station. “He asked if I was a Black Lives protester, rioter, kinda smirked and said, ‘I'm not giving you any gas.' He wouldn't give me any gas based on the color of my skin and him thinking I was going to do some rioting or something.”
The man continued to spew racist rhetoric when DeWeese put him on camera.
“You're not explaining why you're refusing to sell me gasoline,” the outraged customer said.
The Jay's Garage employee then described the riots of recent months which erupted amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
"There are dumpster fires," he said. "They get a can of gasoline and they start the fire."
When DeWeese once again asked the attendant if he is only selling gas to some people, the racist employee confirmed his bias.
“That's right,” he said.
The customer still tried to reason with the attendant.
“Dude, I live up the block, I'm putting gasoline in my lawnmower and I have moles,” he said. “I'm putting gasoline in the mole holes on my property.”
The employee then tried to make an outlandish negotiation, telling DeWeese he can only buy gas if he puts it directly into a car or lawnmower, but not into a gas can. After leaving the store with an empty can and a gut-wrenching feeling, the family man was upset.
“Terrible, terrible,” he told KGW8. “I live in the Buckman neighborhood I walk with my daughters every day. For me to have to explain to them why things like this happen is very difficult. It never feels good.”
The 37-year-old, who has proven himself as a contributor in the community, saw the incident as an attack on his reputation.
“I’m an educator. A father. A member of the community,” DeWeese told The Oregon Live.
The Portland man also works as the director of volunteer recruitment for the Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program for K-12 students. He has now filed a $350,000 discrimination lawsuit against the store.
“It happens so frequently that we almost become used to it, like it's normalized,” the traumatized father said. “It's not ok.”
Miles Dewhitt, the owner of Jay's Garage, confirmed that the attendant has been fired.
"What happened is against company policy," Dewhitt said. "We serve everyone. I feel bad it happened to the guy. It's not the way we are."
According to the Portland law firm of Kafoury & McDougal, representing DeWeese, three other Black customers in the area filed discrimination lawsuits on the same day. Marquita Corley filed one of the complaints, saying a Walmart employee denied her service while she was shopping with three friends. The 37-year-old said the four friends were the only people in line, but the employee said she can't help them because there were more than four people in line.
In Tanasbourne, Oregon, Rose Wakefield filed a lawsuit against a gas station manager who allegedly said, “I don’t serve Blacks.”
Benita Presley also brought a complaint in Oregon after Safeway employees accused her of having stolen items in her purse, but failed to find any evidence after she emptied her bag.
According to The Oregon Live, organizations such as the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the FBI have documented an increase in racist incidents and hate crimes since President Donald Trump took office, constantly spewing racist rhetoric to his followers.
“In more than 40 years of practicing law, I have not seen cases with the straightforward racism as we’re seeing now,” attorney Greg Kafoury said. “That kind of out-front, unapologetic racism is new. People aren’t hiding anymore. They’re not ashamed.”