A black man from Portland who featured in a viral video being denied gas for his lawnmower by an attendant working at a gas station because he thought it will be used to start riots around the city, is now taking the establishment to court.
Dominique DeWeese, 37, is suing the gas station for racial discrimination, claiming he was denied gasoline for his lawnmower because the white attendant assumed that he would use the flammable liquid to start fires at protests raging in the city.
In July, when DeWeese needed some gas for his lawnmower, he walked over to Jay's Garage, which is just around the corner from his house, carrying an empty gas cannister. However, the attendant working at the gas station refused to sell him gas because he thought DeWeese was a Black Lives Matter protester and would use the fuel to start dumpster fires across the city.
At this point, DeWeese pulled out his cellphone and starting recording the exchange. "I'm trying to understand how come I can't get gas," DeWeese says to the employee. "You're not explaining to me why you're refusing to sell me gasoline."
"You don't watch the news," the attendant tells the customer before adding that the city has been overrun with dumpster fires and that he's carrying an illegal container. "You hear nothing about protesting? You got a container you want filled. I'm just doing my part to keep down the fires in town." Watch the full video
DeWeese Seeking $350K For Racial Discrimination
DeWeese filed a complaint against Jay's Garage on Wednesday seeking $350,000 in damages. The lawsuit alleges that he was refused service based on the color of his skin.
The owner of Jay's Garage, Miles Dewhitt, told KGW that he fired the attendant seen in the video that same day after seeing DeWeese's video on social media.
"What happened is against company policy," Dewhitt insisted. "We serve everyone. I feel bad it happened to the guy. It's not the way we are."
Shortly after the video went viral several social media users started review-bombing Jay's Garage, bringing its review score down to 2.2 stars on Facebook. As previously reported, the vehicle repair shop later issued a statement apologizing to DeWeese before noting that the employee's behavior was "completely unacceptable" and that he had been fired from his job.