Oklahoma man called Black Casey's General manager N-word for not letting him refill cup due to Covid-19 rules
58-year-old Ponca City resident William Welch was arrested following his unhinged rant at the store manager
A man who yelled racial slurs and used other profanities during an exchange with a Black store manager in Ponca City, Oklahoma was arrested last week. The incident, which reportedly took place one week earlier inside a Casey's General Store, ensued over new drink refill restrictions in line with policies effected at several food-service businesses across the country during the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to Oklahoma news outlet KFOR.
Ponca City Police Department officials told the outlet how 58-year-old Ponca City resident William Welch became unhinged and started to yell at the manager upon learning he could not refill a personal cup himself. Speaking to KFOR on Friday, Stacy Orange, the Casey's General Store shift manager who informed Welch of the refill policy, recounted the incident. “I just don’t understand why someone could be like that for no reason,” she said, adding that she is still scared of resuming work at the store. “I feel like he did it on purpose,” Orange said.
Orange started her shift at around 6 am last week when Welch walked up to the counter and asked for a drink refill with a personal cup. "I looked at my cashier because I saw the cup sitting there. I said, remember we can't have refill mugs because of COVID-19," she recalled.
The manager said it was the convenience store's new policy aimed at limiting contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “By then, he’s already telling me to F off,” Orange said.
Several restaurants and other public establishments across the country have implemented policies to stop customers from using self-service machines and lower risks of potential virus transmission in the wake of the outbreak. Casey's has listed its reasoning for said changes on their website. "Given current risks, we took immediate action to help further protect our guests and team members as we evaluate high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces," according to a statement on their FAQ page. "We appreciate your patience during this time of heightened caution."
Welch refused to leave the store despite Orange's request, leaving her with no choice but to call the authorities. "There's a guy in here calling me n***** and stuff," she told the 911 dispatcher. "He's calling me c***, n*****, b****, and flipping me off. His last comment was you should hang just like the rest of the n******."
Welch was eventually tracked down by Ponca City Police, who responded to the scene shortly after the 911 call. “We charged him with outraging public decency because it was in the public and we had witnesses,” Ponca City Detective Kevin Jeffries said.
KFOR reached out to Welch and showed up to his Ponca City home for comment, but he slammed the door shut. “We don’t want this stuff in our town,” Orange told the outlet. “We have a good town and a lot of good people. I won’t have one person have me thinking any different."
Welch was jailed Wednesday and was in custody for 48 hours before he posted bond at $5,000. He is due to appear in court on July 31.