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Trucker says he was ‘outnumbered’ and ‘bullied’ by A-1’s towing in Memphis, even while speaking to police 

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The now-infamous A-1’s towing in Memphis continues to prey on truckers even as the city works to come up with a set of rules regulating towing. 

Jaleel Shaw says he pulled into a truck stop on Lamar Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee earlier this week to avoid the dangerous rain and fog in the area. Shaw says he didn’t notice the pay-to-park sign in the unmanned lot, and woke up the next morning to find his rig had been booted overnight. When A-1’s came back to the lot, they told Shaw he had only 15 minutes to pay the $400 boot removal fee or they’d take his truck, but they didn’t make paying them easy.

“I was trying to pay. It wouldn’t accept the payment and they wouldn’t accept cash,” said Shaw, who owns S-Greenlight Trucking. “They outnumbered me, bullied me.”

Memphis police soon showed up, along with several men from A-1’s. The Memphis police officers informed Shaw that he had to pay and could not cut the boot or he’d be charged with vandalism. A short time after that, a police sergeant showed up at the lot and disagreed with the other officers, calling it a civil matter, reported WREG.

As Shaw was speaking with the officers, an A-1’s employee jumped into the cab of his truck and had it towed away. Shaw was forced to pay almost $2,700 to get the truck back, and says the A-1’s employees “bullied” him into signing a release granting them permission to tow his truck. He says that the armed employees surrounded him after the police left and took his keys, so he signed the release out of fear. 

“What they are doing is using intimidation tactics, This is racketeering, almost,” said Shaw. “I understand there is stuff going on with the city, but they’re not following the city ordinances.”

Technically, the Memphis booting ordinance lists a maximum booting charge of $50, a maximum towing fee of $505, and gives drivers 24 hours to pay any fees. However, A-1’s attorney claims that the company is following state law, which supersedes local laws, over city ordinances.

A-1’s has already had their towing license temporarily suspended in Memphis and the state of Arkansas, but has since resumed operation. Now, the city of Memphis is working on a set of clear rules and regulations that would help to avoid this type of predatory towing

A list of rules and regulations for tow truck drivers will be presented by the Memphis permits office to the City Council on February 6th. 

“We want to let the public, especially the industry, to know what the permits office can do and what the transportation commission can do and make it very clear on how they (the wreckers) are to operate,” said councilman Ford Canale to WREG.

At least one trucking company has threatened to sue A-1’s for towing several of their rigs from truck stops in Memphis. The Memphis permits office says there are currently no open investigations on A1’s.

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