PORTLAND, OR (KPTV)A new lawsuit claims a Black Portland man was denied gas because the attendant thought he’d use it to start fires at protests.

And the attorney who filed the lawsuit says his firm is seeing more blatant racism now than ever before.

"I'm trying to understand how come I can’t get gas," Dominique DeWeese is heard saying in a video he took at Jay's Garage in late July.

The attendant responds, saying, "There’s dumpster fires, they get a can of gasoline and they start the fire," to which DeWeese replies, "So, are you picking and choosing who to sell gasoline to?"

"That’s right," the attendant responds.

In the video, DeWeese explains he came to get gas for his lawnmower.

The attendant says, "There's dumpster fires all over town," and later says, "Just doing my part to keep down the fires in town."

Now, DeWeese has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit for $350,000.

"He was assuming that I'm somebody that I'm not," DeWeese said. "In Portland, things like this happen pretty often, you could say you get used to it, but you don’t. I'm a family man, I have my kids, I take them out into the community. When things like this happen, it hurts."

FOX 12 visited Jay’s Garage to ask about this. The owner didn’t want to go on camera but said he fired that attendant the same night, as soon as he heard about the interaction.

He said he apologizes to DeWeese, that this is against their company policy, and they’re open to everyone.

DeWeese’s case is one of four similar lawsuits filed by firm Kafoury and McDougal Thursday, each alleging discrimination at different places.

"All of them involved Black people being denied service because of the color of their skin," Attorney Jason Kafoury said. "We’ve never seen that in the history of our law firm, that many cases like that."

"It's sad, it's sad, ya know, when will it stop," DeWeese said.

As far as the other three complaints, one of them claims a woman was denied service at Walmart in Wood Village because of the color of her skin, one alleges an employee at a Jackson’s in Tanasbourne said they don’t serve Black people, and the other says a woman was falsely accused of stealing things at the northwest Portland Safeway.

FOX 12 reached out to each of those companies Thursday night.

A Jackson's spokesperson said, “We at Jackson's in no shape or form condone racial injustice or prejudice in any way. As we haven’t seen the legal complaint on this specific incident until now, we’ll need to review it and will respond appropriately when we better understand the facts of the case.”

Safeway said they don't comment on pending litigation.

Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove provided following statement:

“We don’t tolerate discrimination and we take allegations like this seriously. Walmart is committed to providing an inclusive shopping experience for all of our customers. We will respond with the Court as appropriate after we are served with the Complaint.”

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(8) comments

Delta Bravo

Given the prolific arson in Portland, every station should have a policy that allows purchase of gas as long as it is put into a vehicle but refuses to fill containers. As long as the policy is applied without reference to race, I just don't see the problem.

Manazuma

Should have just checked the ID. I think anyone who fills a gas container should have to show ID with home address on it. Perhaps containers should be registered now that there is an outbreak of gas container violence.

Eliza Cassan

How many other people that day just walked up to a gas station without a car and asked for gas? It was was a bunch of white people and none of them refused, yeah, maybe there is a case, but just one guy, and the attendant never said he is refusing him because of race, just that he did not want to see fires. Get out the waaaambulance

Frederick Fukov

Uhh..no offense, but what the attendant did was wrong, and the owner fired him. That should end the lawsuit right there. Sue the individual, sure..because the employee was wrong. But Kafoury will only sue the owner..who has deep pockets. The problem is, and it's easy to defend, is that there's no way the owner would have known that the employee was racist. Unless Kafoury has at least two other witnesses that can verify that this employee had other racist episodes, and that the owner ignored it / did nothing about it..there is no case. But Kafoury knows that he can still get a settlement out of the owner, because it's cheaper to settle than it is to defend one's self. By putting a ridiculous amount on the suit, he's actually hoping to get maybe 40% of 10% of that amount. If I'm the owner, and there is no evidence that proves the owner knew the guy was a racist, I pay the money to fight the charge, and counter sue Kafory for bringing a baseless lawsuit.

Eliza Cassan

not saying he was not wrong, just not racist, at least no proof of racial intent, yeah they always go for the big money payday

commentor

Isn't the attorney mentioned in this article a bottom feeder?

Toothache

Yes, lawyers are lower than whale dung.

Frederick Fukov

Yeah..I've actually sought the legal assistance of both Greg and Jason in the past, but they wouldn't take my case because I'm not black, and there wasn't enough money in it.

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