First came the incident, in which a Bucky’s gas station clerk in Naperville, Ill., was caught on camera confronting Hispanic customers about their legal status.
Then came the protests, in which some demonstrators held signs that said “boycott racism” and others marched with ones that said “Build the Wall.”
Now, the gas station clerk has been fired, and political leaders are speaking out, condemning the behavior and saying in one statement that incidents like this are the real-life consequences of President Trump’s racist tweets.
On Sunday morning, Trump targeted four Democrats — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — in a trio of tweets that told the women to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” even though three of the women were born in the United States and the fourth became a naturalized citizen at age 17.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) spoke to MSNBC about the Bucky’s gas station video, saying that “this is the type of language the president propels and normalizes, and it’s unacceptable.”
The initial confrontation between the clerk and a group of Hispanic women happened off-camera on Tuesday, reported the Naperville Sun. Indira Buitron, 15, who was born in the United States and lives in Bolingbrook, was bicycling with her aunts and cousins when her bike wheel came loose. The women stopped at the Bucky’s to buy snacks while they waited for help, they told the Sun.
Inside, they allege that the gas station clerk — who has not been identified — asked the teen if her cousins were adopted. Buitron said they were visiting from Mexico, she told the Sun. The clerk then questioned the teen’s citizenship and allegedly said her cousins needed to go home.
Buitron and her cousins walked back outside and recounted the story to her aunts and 20-year-old Carolina Buitron, of Woodridge, who had come to retrieve the broken bicycle.
Carolina Buitron, her aunt and mother all went inside to confront the clerk. Two separate videos captured what they said.
In one video, the gas station clerk can be heard assuming, without evidence, two of the women were undocumented. The clerk asks one woman if she is a citizen, to which she responded “yes” and then asked, “What is your problem?”
“Don’t you know the rules?” the clerk asked. “They need to go back to their country.”
In the video, one woman threatens to call police.
“ICE will come,” the clerk says as the women leave the store. “Bye. God bless you.”
One woman calls his comments “stupid.”
“You’re in the wrong country,” the clerk responds.
A visiting cousin, 19-year-old Maria Fernanda, posted the video on Facebook Tuesday night.
“It was not fair,” Fernanda told the Sun. “It was racist.”
The next day, separate groups of protesters appeared at the Bucky’s: those in support of the women far outnumbering those opposing them. Both waved American flags.
On Thursday, the gas station’s parent company said the gas station employee seen in the video had been terminated.
“Clearly there was an altercation, and he didn’t react well,” general counsel Steve Kalhorn told Chicago’s NBC 5. “And we don’t treat customers that way. That’s why he’s no longer an employee.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said the city police department had reviewed the video and was “looking into it.”
“Let me be abundantly clear: Hate has no home here in Naperville,” Chirico said. “Quite frankly, this type of behavior has no place in society at large. Our city prides itself on being open and inclusive to all.”