NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A woman that called 911 on a group of adult and child community activists is now being referred to as “Gas Station Gail.”
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. Thrower spoke exclusively with News 2 Wednesday.
“We started our walk on Ontranto Road,” Thrower said. “It was a lot of kids, I had my one-year old son with me, we just wanted to stop because the kids were thirsty, it was hot.”
Marching in anti-violence t-shirts, Thrower says during their walk, many children participating got 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 called the cops on them for allegedly standing in front of the gas station.
“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.”
News 2 obtained the 911 calls that the woman made.
“I mean it’s like a riot out here,” she said.
That woman has now been identified Brenda Metz. 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?”
Later in the call she accused the group of destroying the gas station and causing a physical and verbal disturbance.
“They keep turning the pumps off they’re hitting the pumps down,” Metz said.
When asked if she felt she was in danger, Metz said, “No, no we just want a police officer to get here.”
The video of this whole ordeal was posted on Facebook by Thrower and it immediately went viral. and now Metz is being referred to as “Gas Station Gail.”
Joining the ranks of others like “Corner Store Caroline,” ” BBQ Becky,” and “Apartment Patty.” These are all incidents where a white person got scrutinized on social media after calling the police on a black person(s) for no apparent reason.
News 2’s Deanne Roberts reached out to Metz to get her side of the story, but her husband said they could not comment and referred News 2 to Murphy’s Corporate office.
Murphy USA’s spokesperson Joshua Cook says the company is aware of what happened is currently investigating the matter and issued this 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 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.”
Thrower says the incident was unexpected.
“It all happened so fast, like 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.”
Thrower says it was very concerning going through this especially because many of those participating in the walk were children.
“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?”
Thrower says North Charleston Police were aware of the walk prior to the event. He said patrol cars drove by several time to check on the group.
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.
“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.”
As shown in the video, the group left.
North Charleston Police did arrive on scene, but no police report was filed because the group was gone by the time police got there.
Thrower is planning to meeting with NCPD to discuss this situation. He also wants to press charges on Metz for allegedly making a false 911 call.