A woman dubbed #GasStationGail called the police on a group of peaceful Black protesters, which included children, as they denounced violence in their Charleston community outside of a local gas station.
This past Sunday, Charleston community activist, Jonathan Thrower, led a group of nearly 40 Black adults and children on a “Guns down Chucktown: End to Gun Violence” walk.
Marching in anti-violence t-shirts, Thrower said about a mile into the group’s walk, the children in the group became thirsty so they stopped at the Murphy USA Express gas station in North Charleston off Rivers Avenue to get drinks and snacks.
He said they were there for not even five minutes, before a white woman, now identified as Brenda Metz, called the cops on them for allegedly standing in front of the gas station after getting out of a red pickup truck.
“The next thing I know, I saw a red truck pulling,” he said. “This white man and white lady got outside of the car, he called 911 and the next thing I know she was talking on the phone to 911 telling us to leave, and it just did not make sense.”
According to the 911 call, Metz said: “I mean it’s like a riot out here,” she said.
As it turns out, Metz is the store manager of the Murphy Express. Initially when asked what was taking place, here’s what was said to the 911 dispatcher:
911 dispatcher: “What are they doing”
Brenda Metz: “They are just standing out here, they are guns down, chucktown, something”
She even claimed that they were vandalizing gas station pumps and being verbally abusive. However, the video showed a very different account of what happened.
Metz declined to comment but a spokesperson from Murphy Express issued the following statement.
“Murphy USA is aware of a situation on Oct. 14 at our North Charleston, South Carolina Murphy Express location at 8599 Rivers Avenue. Approximately 3040 people were gathered outside the location at the conclusion of a local community event. Safety issues arose due to people, many of which were young children, being in and around the flow of store traffic, and disruptions to the business were caused by an external emergency fuel stop button being struck numerous times, which shut down all fuel pumps at our site. A Murphy USA employee approached the group and requested they leave the premises. After members of the group refused to leave the premises, a call was made to law enforcement. At this time, Murphy USA is reviewing the situation and the response with our team.”
Thrower further elaborated: “It all happened so fast, like we were literally just standing there and boom. The only thing I could think in the back of my mind is, this lady is crazy.”
“A lot of the children were distraught,” he said. “They were saying why is it when we do something good Something still ends up going wrong”He said he finds it odd that a group of black activists were faced with what seemed to be a racial challenge while advocating for justice and equality, but he used it as a teaching moment.
Thrower had a clear understanding of the ramifications of Metz calling the police on the group and talked about the racial implications of her making that call.
“This situation is applicable to situations that they are going to get into later in life” he said. “Sometimes you have to swallow your pride even if you’re in the right and say, you know what, we will take care of this at a later date, but it’s in our best interest and everybody’s best interest to walk away professionally and with dignity and then we’ll deal with it later on.”
Ironically, the North Charleston had been supportive of the event and even checked on the group as they walked. No report was filed against the protesters but Thrower does want to press charges on Metz for allegedly making a false 911 call.
This is just another day of #LivingWhileBlack.