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.”
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