Broward County

A cop says he was refused service at a gas station. Now the clerk is paying for that decision

An employee of this Miramar Sunoco, 1700 S. Douglas Rd., was fired after an officer said he was refused service.
An employee of this Miramar Sunoco, 1700 S. Douglas Rd., was fired after an officer said he was refused service. Google Maps screenshot

A gas station Gatorade run for a South Florida cop ended with one man fired and a police benevolent association’s call for a boycott.

The Miramar police officer walked into a Sunoco, 1700 S. Douglas Rd., Sunday afternoon to buy a drink. In an incident report the officer filed, he said that a man with dreadlocks approached him and asked why the officer arrested his “boy.”

“Y’all got my boy in the back of that car outside the gas station,” the man told the officer, according to the report.

The uniformed officer wouldn’t answer questions about the arrested man and walked away. When he made his way to the counter to buy his drink, he found the same man behind the cash register with the window closed.

The Miramar cop knocked on the window, trying to get the cashier’s attention.

“Hey, can you ring me up?” the officer asked. “I need to pay for my Gatorade.”

“No,” the man answered. He wouldn’t ring the cop up, and “you know why,” he said. The officer asked again, and the cashier refused.

Instead, he asked the officer to “get out of my way. I need to attend to customers.” The line behind the cop had grown, so he let them go first. After the four customers had paid, he asked one more time to buy his drink.

One more time, the cashier told him no. When asked why he wouldn’t serve a police officer, the cashier told him “because I don’t have to, that’s why.”

The next day, the Broward Police Benevolent Association released a statement asking Sunoco to fire the cashier and for “anyone in law enforcement, or anyone who supports law enforcement,” to boycott Sunoco.

“On a day when three officers are slain in Baton Rouge, La., and a fourth is fighting for his life, how can anyone deny service to a uniformed police officer?” Broward County PBA President Jeff Marano said in the statement.

The gas station company released a statement apologizing to the officer for the employee’s behavior at the independently owned and operated store.

“The actions described by the police officer are unacceptable and are not something that Sunoco would tolerate at any station bearing the Sunoco brand. After investigating the circumstances in conjunction with the local owner-operator, the employee was terminated. We apologize to the officer involved, and to all law enforcement officers who were understandably offended by this incident.

The nation’s police officers are a precious resource, and Sunoco welcomes them in our stores as customers and protectors of our community every day.”

The PBA told WSVN they were happy the cashier was fired but asked Sunoco to prove it.

The clerk, who spoke to Local10, told the station he denied the officer service because of his attitude, not his uniform.

“Only because he was being rude to me,” the clerk said. “Only because he was being rude, and I explained that.”

He said he has nothing against law enforcement and has never had an incident with cops, but when he asked the officer for information about his arrested friend, the cop cut him off.

“He just said, ‘ain’t none of your damn business.’”

An hour before the Sunoco confrontation, the clerk’s friend, Javar Gray, was arrested. He was the man in the backseat of the police sar.

According to the report, an officer stopped him for speeding and arrested him on charges including driving without a license.

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc