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Attorney General Josh Stein Sues Predatory Tow Truck Driver for Racial Discrimination

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
919-716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein announced that he has sued Charlotte-based A1 Towing Solutions, Inc. and its owner David Jewel Satterfield for allegedly racially targeting consumers and illegally booting and towing their vehicles. Attorney General Stein is adding these allegations to his ongoing lawsuit against the defendants for violating North Carolina’s price gouging laws during COVID-19. Satterfield and A1 Towing towed and booted trucks delivering needed goods during the pandemic and then forced drivers to pay exorbitant amounts to get the boots taken off and the vehicles released.

“This defendant hasn’t just been breaking the law and harming North Carolinians – he’s done so by purposefully targeting Black people,” said Attorney General Stein. “It’s both wrong and illegal, and I’m asking the court to stop him from engaging in this predatory and discriminatory conduct and give full financial relief to his victims.”

Attorney General Stein’s lawsuit originally alleged that the defendants improperly and predatorily booted or towed trucks that were delivering food, water, bleach, or needed medical supplies during the pandemic despite the trucks’ drivers, in many instances, having the necessary permission of property owners to park their trucks on the property. After towing or booting the vehicles, the defendants allegedly forced drivers to pay exorbitant amounts for their release.

However, after bringing our lawsuit, our office received additional information that the defendants were discriminatorily targeting African Americans with the brunt of their unlawful price gouging, unlawful towing and booting, and unlawful debt collection. Of the 14 complaints we received, 11 were submitted by African Americans.

The North Carolina Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Division, working in collaboration with the department’s Civil Rights Unit, investigated the concerns and found that Satterfield was targeting African Americans by a process called “reverse redlining,” in which certain communities receive less favorable treatment. He was allegedly also operating mostly in areas of Charlotte that have a majority African American population. African Americans make up 35 percent of the population in Charlotte; they owned 72 percent of the vehicles Satterfield towed in the city during a specific time period.

Attorney General Stein is also adding another company Satterfield owned, Automobile Recovery & Parking Enforcement, Inc., to the complaint and is seeking injunctive relief, restitution, civil penalties, and attorney fees and investigative costs.

The Civil Rights Unit investigates alleged violations of civil rights laws and discriminatory practices and provides education and referrals on civil rights issues. You can file a complaint with the Civil Rights Unit here.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

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