American Legion officers asked to remove motorcycle vests in Dave & Buster’s

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 22:39:04-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A West Michigan couple is sharing their story after they say they were forced to leave a local business because of their motorcycle vests.

They say they went to Dave & Buster's on 28th Street on Saturday wearing American Legion vests, a group with several members who are veterans. They say they were asked to take them off or leave.

Victor Murdock and his fiancee Adrienne Brown say they went to have some drinks and play games when they were told they couldn't wear their American Legion vests inside Dave & Buster's. Company policy says no gang-related apparel is allowed inside Dave & Buster's, but the couple says they were just trying to display their patriotism.

"We went there to have a few beers and play some video games," said Victor Murdock. "Harmless fun right?"

Both Murdock and Brown are officers of the American Legion Riders Post 179 out of Grandville. They say wearing their vests everyday marked with the American flag and bald eagle makes them proud.

"Our vests have the American flag, the Prisoner of War flag, they have our patch that has a big bald eagle on the back of it and it says our post," said Adrienne Brown.

The couple says the post makes it a point to help those who serve our country. FOX 17 was there in December as they donated nearly a dozen computers and webcams to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Shortly after entering the Dave & Buster's on Saturday, Murdock says he was first asked to remove his hat.

"At first it was my beanie, so I agreed to take it off, but that wasn't good enough for the manager," said Murdock.

Murdock says it didn't end there.

"As I turned to go to the bathroom to take off my beanie, the manager was standing there and placed his hand on my chest and told me I wasn't allowed in there," said Murdock. "We all asked why and he said it was because the jackets were gang related."

They say at that point, the manager gave them and their friends two options.

"Basically if we didn't either turn them inside out or remove them that we would have to leave," said Murdock.

"They don't promote violence, they don't promote hate and they don't have any intolerant sayings on them," said Brown.

According to the vice president of Dave & Buster's, April Spearman, company policy states their dress code bans anything with evidence of gang affiliation. That includes motorcycle jackets displaying patches or rockers.

While Spearman says they understand the American Legion's mission, they can't allow them to wear the vests for consistency reasons.  That's something that doesn't sit well with Victor and Adrienne.

"I would like for not so much an apology, but an amendment in their policy to not discriminate against riders in general to frequent their establishment," Murdock said. "You shouldn't have to turn an American flag and a bald eagle inside out to play a video game. It's ridiculous."

Full statement from Dave & Buster's:

We are extremely grateful to all of our active military members and

      veterans and are honored to have them as valued guests in any of our


      Our dress code, which prohibits evidence of gang affiliation, is in

      place to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy themselves in a fun

      and safe environment. Though we understand that the American Legion

      promotes a positive mission, for consistency reasons we cannot allow

      motorcycle jackets displaying patches or rockers. Our policies are in

      no way meant to be disrespectful and we apologize for any frustration

      this may have caused.

      In addition, please know that this group was not asked to leave, but

      to simply turn their jackets inside out.  Again, we apologize for any