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Restaurant Tells American Legion Officers to Remove Vests

FILE PHOTO -- American Legion member listens to US President George W. Bush during the American Legion''s 83rd annual convention August 29, 2001 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Ronald Images)
FILE PHOTO -- American Legion member listens to US President George W. Bush during the American Legion''s 83rd annual convention August 29, 2001 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Ronald Images)

KENTWOOD, Mich. — American Legion officers say they were told they weren't permitted to wear their affiliated jackets at a Dave & Buster's in Michigan because they showed evidence of gang affiliation.

Victor Murdock and Adrienne Brown of the American Legion Riders Post 179 out of Grandville say they were told they couldn't wear their vests inside the Kentwood restaurant. The vests have patches of the American flag, the Prisoner of War flag and a bald eagle.

The Texas-based company said in a statement that the group was asked to remove the jackets or turn them inside out because the business' dress code prohibits evidence of gang affiliation. Spokeswoman April Spearman said the policy was 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," she said.

Murdock said he doesn't see how the policy would apply to American Legion affiliates.

"I get it," he said. "Everyone has to have a policy to keep the unwanted element out. But an American flag and a bald eagle does not represent a gang element."

Spearman apologized for the frustration on behalf of the company.

"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 locations," she wrote. "Our policies are in no way meant to be disrespectful and we apologize for any frustration this may have caused."

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