Thursday, November 15, 2018

Manager who called the cops on anti-violence demonstrators "will not be returning" to North Charleston store

Parent company Murphy USA said the crowd had been "calm and peaceful"

Posted by Adam Manno on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 12:03 PM

click to enlarge Police responded to a convenience store on Rivers Avenue on Sun. Oct. 14, 2018. - GOOGLE STREET VIEW
  • Google Street View
  • Police responded to a convenience store on Rivers Avenue on Sun. Oct. 14, 2018.
The manager of a North Charleston gas station who reported a group of anti-violence demonstrators to the police last month is no longer at that location, the company says.

"While we do not as a policy discuss internal personnel issues, I can confirm that they will not be returning to the North Charleston store location," said Murphy USA spokesperson Joshua Cook in an email to the City Paper.

The woman previously managed the Murphy USA location at 8599 Rivers Ave.

It remains unclear when the personnel shake-up took place, or if she remains employed with the company in any capacity.
click to enlarge A woman reported a group of anti-violence marchers in North Charleston to the police last month. - PHOTO VIA FACEBOOK/SHAKEM AKHET
  • Photo via Facebook/Shakem Akhet
  • A woman reported a group of anti-violence marchers in North Charleston to the police last month.


In a Facebook video posted by activist Jonathan Thrower on Oct. 14, an unidentified man hands the woman a cell phone outside the store. She asks Thrower to stop filming before ducking into the building.

The caller identified herself as "Brenda" in 911 audio obtained by CP.

She told a dispatcher that a crowd of children and adults wearing "Guns Down Chuck Town" T-shirts were "absolutely destroying the outside" of the store. The group was part of a "Stop the Violence" march promoting conflict resolution in North Charleston, which set a record for homicides in 2017.

"I mean, it's like a riot out here," she said.
The crowd had dispersed by the time officers arrived, according to the North Charleston Police Department. No incident report was taken.

Later that week, Murphy USA disputed her claims after reviewing security camera footage from that day.

"We can confirm that the group of 30-40 individuals – many of them children who were gathered at the location following the march – were calm and peaceful," the company said.

The Arkansas-based gas station operator confirmed that an emergency fuel shut-off button had been pressed at least three times.

"We regret that this incident has taken focus away from the purpose of the local anti-violence march, a cause we fully support," the company added.

Thrower says that a top employee at Murphy USA headquarters has since promised to help with upcoming "Stop the Violence" events.

"She gave me her word, her personal cell phone number. She said they will be willing to help sponsor and help out with the upcoming events," Thrower said. "She admitted that what the employee did was wrong. She said Murphy's did not stand by the actions of the employee."

Cook says the company will soon announce a partnership to support "relationship building between the community, the North Charleston Police Department, and Murphy USA."

Thrower is not aware of anyone seeing the caller at the store since the incident. A clerk at the North Charleston store told CP that "Brenda" was still employed at the store Wednesday, though Cook later said that the employee "must have misspoken."

When CP called the phone number provided to the 911 dispatcher, a man who answered abruptly ended the call.

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