Dave & Buster’s to review policy after American Legion rider incident

Victor Murdock, American Legion Riders
Victor Murdock's American Legion Riders vest. (Feb. 27. 2017)

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — An executive for Dave & Buster’s is coming to the Kentwood restaurant to address a company policy banning patches on vests, including those worn by Sons of The American Legion.

A company spokeswoman said Tuesday that Dave & Buster’s vice president of operations will be flying to West Michigan to meet with Victor Murdock, who was told he would have to turn his American Legion vest inside out or leave because the patches on it could be misconstrued as gang symbols.

Victor Murdock, American Legion Riders
Victor Murdock wearing his American Legion Riders vest. (Feb. 27. 2017)

The incident happened Saturday night at the Dave & Buster’s on 28th Street, across from the Shops at CenterPoint. The manager informed Murdock and another member of the policy as they waited for a table; they chose to leave.

“It’s ridiculous. I was blown away,” Murdock told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “Probably one of the first times in my life I noticed right off the bat I was being discriminated against. ”

In a statement Monday, Dave & Buster’s said the policy was “for consistency reasons” and part of a dress code “which prohibits evidence of gang affiliation, (and) is in place to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy themselves in a fun and safe environment.”

Since the story aired Monday on 24 Hour News 8, outcry about Dave & Buster’s police has spread across Facebook, where the story has been shared thousands of times. Michigan rocker Ted Nugent even chimed in on the situation in a Facebook post, calling on people to “never go to this restaurant again till they apologize & make it right!”

The company is also responding.

“Dave & Buster’s is extremely grateful to all of our active military members and veterans, and we are honored to have them as valued guests. We have apologized to Mr. Murdock for his experience this past weekend. Mr. Murdock has raised important concerns regarding our policies. We recognize the need to educate our team members about the American Legion, and have reached out to the local American Legion Post 179, and the national organization for guidance. In addition, we will review our approach to our dress code. We remain fully committed to our military and will work with the American Legion and Mr. Murdock on ways we can support their mission and their community,” company spokesman April Spearman said in a statement Tuesday.

Spearman said the vice president of operations, Ed Forler will be flying into West Michigan. He’s expected to meet with Murdock and other American Legion Post 179 members Friday afternoon.

Murdock called the response to the situation “intense.”

“I didn’t think an internet post would get so much action,” he said. “I didn’t think that little post would grow legs and take off like it did.”

Murdock said the company has already contacted him to apologize and promised to be in contact later this week to figure out options. He’s calling on Dave & Buster’s to change its dress code.

“The way they’re wording it, anything could be gang-related at that point,” he explained.

“It’s more about not generalizing people, not discriminating against people. (It’s about) taking time to listen to other people and definitely being concerned about our veterans and support for them and those who support them,” added Murdock’s fiancee, Dr. Adrienne Brown.