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A Portland man has filed a $350,000 racial discrimination lawsuit against a local gas station after claiming that an attendant refused to sell him gas over the summer because of his race.
Dominique DeWeese, who is Black, said in the lawsuit filed last week that he went to Jay’s Garage in July to fill up a gas canister for his lawnmower.
In a video obtained by FOX12 Oregon, DeWeese is heard asking the attendant why he won’t sell him gas.
The attendant, who is White, responded in the video: "There’s dumpster fires, they get a can of gasoline and they start the fire."
DeWeese said in the lawsuit that an attendant at Jay’s Garage in Portland refused to sell him gas.
DeWeese claimed in the lawsuit that the attendant implied that he did not want to provide DeWeese with an opportunity to set fires or commit other crimes that have occurred at nightly protests in the city. Some demonstrators have set fires in the streets or inside buildings during the protests.
"He was assuming that I'm somebody that I'm not," DeWeese told the station.
The attendant said he’d only sell DeWeese gasoline if it went directly into his car or lawnmower, the Oregonian reported, citing the cellphone video.
DeWeese, the director of volunteer recruitment for the Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program for students between kindergarten and 12th grade, told the paper the situation was offensive.
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“I’m an educator,” he said. “A father. A member of the community.”
The owner of Jay’s Garage told FOX12 that he fired the attendant the same night of the incident and apologized to DeWeese. He said the attendant was acting against company policy, which says they serve everyone.
DeWeese is represented by law firm Kafoury and McDougal, which also filed three similar lawsuits involving Black people who claimed they were denied service at businesses in Portland due to the color of their skin.
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“In more than 40 years of practicing law, I have not seen cases with the straightforward racism as we’re seeing now,” attorney Greg Kafoury told the Oregonian.
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