“They keep turning the pumps off, theyre hitting the pumps down,” she said. “We need a policeman here now.”
The North Charleston Police Department says the crowd dispersed by the time officers arrived at 8599 Rivers Ave. and no incident report was taken.
2 The unidentified woman was caught on camera. A woman in North Charleston, South Carolina really had the audacity to call the cops on a group of young black students who were holding a Stop The Violence March. Community activist Jonathan Thrower tells the Charleston City Paper that he was marching with the kids when they said they were thirsty and asked if they could get something to drink at the nearby store.
Murphy spokesperson Joshua Cook confirmed that “Brenda” is a manager at the store and stood by details of her account in a statement announcing the companys review:
Approximately 30-40 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.
When asked about the callers role with the company moving forward, Cook told CP, “I have no determination on that.”
“The North Charleston Police Department — I applaud them, because the guy was like, You know, they’re just coming in to purchase something, I’m sure they‘re not causing any trouble,” Jonathan added.
Cell phone footage of the encounter racked up tens of thousands of views on Facebook by Tuesday morning. The video, taken by local community organizer Jonathan Thrower, shows the crowd standing outside of the store while a woman spoke on the phone with a dispatcher, asked him to stop filming, and walked inside.
An employee of the store told them to remain on the sidewalk and they listened and then another woman rolled up telling them she was calling the cops for their “riot.”
Tags: gas station, North Charleston, 911, call, march, demonstration, Joshua Cook, Murphys USA, Jonathan Thrower, Image
In an even more bizarre—though, unfortunately, not exactly surprising—twist, most of the protesters were children.
According to WCBD TV, Charleston community activist Jonathan Thrower, who goes by Shakem Akhet on Facebook, led dozens of black adults and children in an anti-violence walk on Sunday. The group had just concluded the mile-long protest, Guns down Chucktown: End to Gun Violence, when they stopped at the Murphy USA Express gas station to get some refreshments for the kids—who comprised the bulk of the group.
While the group paused outside, a white couple pulled up in a red pickup truck. The couple called 911 on the group, with the woman, identified as Brenda Metz, hopping on the phone to tell dispatchers that the walk participants were destroying the outside of the station.
Thrower recorded the woman—whos being referred to as Gas Station Gail, according to the Huffington Post—talking on the phone and walking in and out of the store. Participants in the march can be seen holding their signs and chatting with each other, trying to figure out what was happening.
While what she says is unclear in his video, the Charleston City Paper obtained audio of Metzs call to the North Charleston dispatcher.
Theyre standing outside my store, theyre videoing us and everything, I need a police officer here now, said Metz, who was later identified as a store manager for Murphy Express. She told the dispatcher the group was knocking gas pumps down and absolutely destroying the outside of the gas station.
Metz added, I mean, its like a riot out here. Meanwhile, the protesters were literally standing outside, holding Stop the violence posters.
We were literally just standing there and boom, Thrower said. The only thing I could think in the back of my mind is, this lady is crazy.
Cops did end up responding to the call, but the group had already dispersed by the time they arrived. Thrower said he applauded the police departments response to the bogus call.
The [officer] was like, You know, theyre just coming in to purchase something, Im sure theyre not causing any trouble, he told WCBD.
Still, Thrower and other North Charleston community members are calling for a boycott of Murphy Express, which in a statement, seemed to back up Metz.
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, Murphy USA said in a statement, according to the Huffington Post.
A lot of the children were distraught, he told WCBD TV. They were saying why is it when we do something good, something still ends up going wrong?