NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Vice President of a gas station chain visited Charleston Tuesday after an employee called 911 on a group of activists marching for anti-gun violence.
The Vice President of Sales and Operations, Jay Roten, and another representative of Murphy USA gas station came to Charleston and met with two deputy chiefs with North Charleston Police, North Charleston city leaders, and local community activists Tuesday.
This comes after an employee at the Murphy Express in North Charleston called 911 on a group of community activists who stopped for drinks while participating in an anti-gun violence walk. News 2 reported on this exclusive story last week.
Brenda Metz, store manager of the Murphy USA gas station in North Charleston, has been nicknamed “Gas Station Gail” on the internet after the video of her calling 911 on a group of 30-40 community activists advocating for anti-gun violence went viral.
Nine days later, the VP and Director of Sales of Murphy USA flew into Charleston, especially after activists planned to protest the gas station.
“It was a PR nightmare, and they knew that,” community activist, Jonathan Thrower, said.
Thrower recorded the incident and posted the video on Facebook. He helped lead the meeting Tuesday and said the meeting was a step in the right direction.
“I came in the meeting still angry, still upset, and I still am upset about the situation but sometimes it’s just good to have that communication and that talk,” he said. “I feel like that was the first step.”
News 2’s camera were not allowed in the meeting Tuesday, but Thrower gave a detailed account of what took place.
Local activist, Jonathan Thrower, just got out of the meeting with the VP and Director of Sales of Murphy USA. He says he feels much better than he did before the meeting. I’ll break down what happened in the meeting tonight on @WCBD #chsnews pic.twitter.com/JW6jXpvyI1— Deanne Roberts (@DeanneWCBD) October 23, 2018
Thrower said the Murphy reps apologized for what took place and said Metz’s actions do not reflect the corporation.
“They admitted that when they watched the tape it was peaceful,” he said. “They acknowledged we were correct. They say they want to be able to help out in the community and let the community know Murphy’s is a place that is for the cause in which we were originally meeting on.”
Thrower says Murphy’s has committed to helping with future “stop the violence” initiatives.
“Actions speak louder than words,” he said. “I believe what they said was genuine, but we will see what happens within the next few days.”
A Murphy representative spoke with News 2’s Deanne Roberts last week and said Metz called 911 because children were pressing the emergency fuel stop buttons disrupting business.
“Disruptions to the business were caused by an external emergency fuel stop button pressed numerous times,” Joshua Cook said.
Here’s what Murphy USA’s VP had to say Tuesday.
“They said they don’t know who pushed it,” Thrower said. “She said it could have been anyone who leaned on it, but in the event that it happened, it still wasn’t enough to warrant a response that was given by Ms. Metz.”
Overall, Thrower said the meeting went well. He said Murphy USA was on a “fact finding” mission and left with a better understanding of what happened Sunday, Oct. 14.
Thrower initially wanted Metz fired and to press charges. He still wants her fired, but during the meeting, Thrower said Murphy reps could not give a direct answer on what would happen with the status of her employment. As far as pressing charges, NCPD told him that Metz’s 911 call was justifiable, so he can not press charges.
Murphy USA has committed to following back up with Thrower within the next few days.