Courier Exclusive: Gas station where Black women were beaten reopens with new management

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by Rob Taylor Jr.
Courier Staff Writer
The gas station and corresponding convenience store on the North Side where two Black women were beaten by store employees in September 2019 has reopened.

But this time, the New Pittsburgh Courier has learned, the store is under new management—management that’s familiar to African American residents on the North Side.

It’s now owned by Abdo Saad, who also owns Perry Market, a few minutes away on Perrysville Avenue. Saad’s brother is the owner of Aden Market on Federal Street, as Saad also owned Aden at one time with his brother. Saad is moreso known as “Aden” by North Siders.

“Most of the people that come in here were my customers before, they know me from Perry Market, and they know how I act, so we’re way different than whatever happened before,” said store manager Haider Mohamed, in an exclusive interview with the Courier.

In the 40 or so days since the location reopened after being closed since Sept. 22, the general consensus from customers who spoke with the Courier is that they approve of the new management and are happy to see their nearby gas station and store open again.

“I got tired of going all the way to the other side (to Perry Market). It’s very convenient for me,” an African American woman, who did not want to be identified, said.

Ronald Jenkins, a North Side resident, said he “hated what happened with the old management, but I’m glad the new ones are here. I like these guys, they’re alright.”
“I’m glad to see that the place is back open,” Javon Smith said. “I’ve always liked coming here, a lot of other people like coming here as well.”

On Sept. 20, 2019, African American sisters Jamila and Ashia Regan had stopped their vehicle at the Exxon station at 2501 Brighton Rd., to get gas. A faulty gas pump caused gas to spill onto the ground, prompting the sisters to ask for reimbursement.

The next thing pumping was the adrenaline of employees Scott Hill, Sukhjinder Sadhra and Balker Singh, as they were seen on video fighting, beating the two sisters in broad daylight inside and outside the gas station.

Because of the enormous amount of protesters and support from African American residents near and far, the sisters would be among the final group of customers that ever stepped foot into the Exxon station with that management.

The store and gas station was forced to close, ownership never to be seen or heard from again, and days later, on Sept. 26, LGP Realty Holdings LP, the owner of the land and assets where the Exxon station is located, announced they had terminated the lease of the independent operator.

Hill, Sadhra and Singh were charged with simple assault, and the Courier has learned via court documents that they are awaiting a non-jury trial tentatively scheduled for July.

Mohamed, the store manager who identifies as Arab, told the Courier that going to a predominantly-White high school in Connecticut revealed to him the racist views that some can hold. It’s helped him to understand what minorities oftentimes endure, he said.

“I had some people who used to call me ‘ISIS’ because I’m Arab,” Mohamed said.

Smith, who oftentimes walks to the gas station on Brighton, said it’s welcoming to see new ownership. “What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong,” he told the Courier. “I’m glad that there’s new people.”

FEATURED IMAGE: HAIDER MOHAMED, the new store manager of the Exxon gas station on Brighton Road. He says his staff is nothing like the old management, of which three employees were arrested for simple assault on two Black female customers in September 2019. (Photo by Rob Taylor Jr.)

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