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- A Portland, Oregon, woman was awarded $1 million following a racist incident in 2020, KGW reported.
- Rose Wakefield said a gas station employee told her, “I don’t serve Black people.”
- Her attorney said when she contacted management, her complaints were ignored, CBS News reported.
A Portland woman was granted $1 million in damages by a jury this week for suffering racial discrimination during a confrontation at a gas station three years ago, according to reports.
Rose Wakefield recounted the incident, which she described as “painful,” in an interview with KGW. She said she went to fill up her tank at Jacksons Food Stores in Washington County, Oregon, in March 2020. While there, she said a gas station employee on site, identified as Nigel Powers, ignored her multiple times, KGW reported citing court documents.
Security footage the local news station viewed showed that Powers then went inside the store to ask another employee for assistance. Before Wakefield left, she said the gas attendant scoffed at her saying, “I don’t serve Black people,” the outlet reported.
“I went to a gas station to get gas and service, and I wasn’t served,” Wakefield, 63, told KGW. “I was actually humiliated and disrespected.”
After the confrontation, Wakefield reached out to managers about her experience, but her complaints went unanswered, CBS News reported. Her lawyer, Gregory Kafoury, alleged that management erased her voicemail about the incident, per the reports, and failed to investigate her claims.
“The attendant was never questioned by the company about the racist comments, and was disciplined only for failing to serve customers in the order of their arrival,” a press release from Kafoury & McDougal said, adding that Powers was terminated a month later for being on his phone at work.
Jacksons Food Stores released a statement following the jury’s decision, emphasizing that the company has “a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind,” according to the reports.
The statement later continued: “After carefully reviewing all facts and evidence, including video surveillance, we chose to take this matter to trial because we were comfortable based on our knowledge that the service-related concern actually reported by the customer was investigated and promptly addressed. As such, we respectfully disagree with the jury’s ruling because our knowledge does not align with the verdict.”