Musician Rushy Lion of the reggae band Jah & I is upset because he was profiled and robbed by an employee of an Esso station in Drummondville, Quebec when he tried to pay for his gas. The man behind the counter took his pre-paid credit card, called the police on him, and refused to give him back his card.
Rushy Lion is known on the Quebec City festival circuit and bar scene as the singer of local reggae band Jah & I. The band has been a part of the local culture for years. Lion often posts short videos of their concerts on his Facebook page. Their performances often seem more like gatherings for friends rather than a show. The audience is usually filmed from the vantage point behind the band and is as much a part of the show as the band itself. Instead of the audience singing and dancing along in today’s post, it was an intimate confession from Lion about an incident that happened to him around three weeks ago.
Although the video image is blurry, Lion seems upset. But, anyone who knows him will immediately recognize him through the blur by his dreads that have been that way since he was in his teens. His Jamaican accent is also easily recognizable as there are few people who could match his cadence and dialect.
He tells us that the phone on his camera is as screwed up as his voice is right now and begins to explain why he made the video.
A few weeks ago he went to an Esso gas station on St. Joseph Boul. in Drummondville, Quebec. “I paid my gas with a pre-paid card,” he says, but the guy behind the counter took it from him and refused to return it. The employee then accused Lion of stealing the card.
A few hours ago, musician Rushy Lion posted this video online.
“I see you steal this card …. You took it from the store,” Lion says in the video, talking about the cashier at the Esso gas station.
“What are you talking about?” asked, Lion. “No, this is my card,” he said to the cashier.
“The guy didn’t even try my card. My card is activated. If you steal a card, it’s not activated,” explains Lion.
He asked the employee to try the card to confirm what he was saying was true. “The f****** guy didn’t even try my card,” said Lion. “He’s just telling me I stole the card.”
“I said this is dumb,” and suggested that he check his camera that’s installed in the store to see what he did after he came into the store. The employee said that he didn’t have access to the camera at that time and he would have to get his boss.
“So, I said get your boss,” said Lion. “Meanwhile, give me my f******* card. The guy said ‘No’, so I said, ‘Hey, I insist you give me my card. Don’t play with me like that.’ So he called the police.”
When the police arrived the Esso employee told them that Lion stole the cash card. Despite his explanation to the police that the card belonged to him, Lion said, “You know what the police did, the police arrested me. I said, how come?”
After the police told him he was under arrest, they placed Lion in the back of the police car. He suggested that they look at the camera evidence that would show that he didn’t steal the card. The police agreed and went back into the dépanneur or corner store.
“I’m in the police car for about an hour,” said Lion. “The police came back out and said, ‘Mr. Todd, the gas station dropped the charge.’ I said, ‘Dropped the charge, for what?'”
The police said that the charge, from the gas station attendant accusing Lion of theft; namely, that “he stole their card,” was being dropped. The officer told him he was free to go. Lion wanted to charge the Esso employee for accusing him of theft and for having him arrested in the first place. The police told him that he couldn’t charge the gas station cashier despite the fact that he had falsely accused him of theft.
At the end of the incident when the police told him he could go, Lion asked for his card back but was shocked to find out that it had gone missing.
“But where’s my card?” he asked the police officer. “Nobody answered me,” said Lion. “So, between the police and the gas station, they stole my card. Somebody stole my card. And, I have no idea where my card [is], or what happened [to it]. You know. And I need my card, my money. And I was arrested for nothing. So me, I would like to do something about it, because this is not nice. For real.”
Dépanneur Voisin/ Station Service ESSO/Lave Auto, the gas station, car wash and corner store that Lion visited has not contacted him, neither has the police. Three weeks later he has resorted to posting a video on Facebook to try to get his pre-paid credit card back and the money that was on it.
Users on Facebook suggested that this was a case of discrimination, that he should contact other police officers, and that he should get an apology from Esso; but Lion says, “I’m not mad at them. I just want my money back.”