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Troubled PPI Tow Operator In the News Again (NC)

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Charlotte tow truck driver accused of pepper spraying customer for third time

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte tow truck driver already on thin ice with the North Carolina Attorney General, has been accused of pepper-spraying a customer, again. David Satterfield is facing a simple assault charge for pepper-spraying a man while he was towing his car.

 

Satterfield is already facing a lawsuit from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office for price gouging during the pandemic.

 

Alfred Webb admits he was parked in the fire lane but says he was sitting in a friend’s car right behind his when David Satterfield showed up to the Silverstone apartments and started towing his car.

 

“I immediately jump out of the car and I’m like hey ‘Hey what are you doing? I’m right here,” Webb said.

 

He says Satterfield asked for $100 to get his car off the tow truck. Webb says as he called his girlfriend to try and get the money, he chased Satterfield to try and prevent him from leaving. He says the argument escalated but never got physical.

 

“He pulls out his phone and says ‘I’m feeling threatened’ and pepper-sprayed me right in my face twice,” Webb said.

Webb filed a complaint with a magistrate and Satterfield has been charged simple assault. But this isn’t the first time.

 

RESOURCE LINK with video

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The narrative reads ... "He says the argument escalated but never got physical", so, how does the act of pepper-spraying someone not be considered physical or a non-form of escalation? Noteably, these reported or alleged actions of predatory towing is what creates impound task forces. Additionally, I believe tow operators (in some states) are obligated to release a vehicle that has not yet been removed off-property from the private property and is in-transit to the tow yard. From the news video, I'm not seeing all the facts to show an illegal impound, but I feel that pepper-spray was a bit over-the-top.      R.

 

 


Randall C. Resch

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In most states companies conducting private property impounds cannot simply block a vehicle in and demand payment. the vehicle has to be properly hooked to the tow truck. The wording of proper meaning it must be strapped was added when some ppi tow companies were found to be putting a chain from the tow vehicle to the vehicle being impounded. In some cases the tow vehicle was a pickup truck inapplicable of properly towing the vehicle being impounded. These types of shady business practices have nearly ruined a legitimate service provided to commercial properties.

 

Patrol Towing is among the worst offenders in the private property segment of the towing industry. Many Legitimate do not even want to conduct Private Property Impounds anymore. Myself, I still see it as and added source of revenue for a professionally run towing operation. It is also another piece of what many companies were built on. Most tow operations have never fully understood what they gave up when they let the Unlocks, Repos and PPI's go to companies which specifically conducted these types of services. Now there are even more less than reputable and sometimes unprofessional companies involved in an industry they want nothing other to do with.

 

Now, if you're one of the companies specializing in any of these areas and you're reading this. I can only assume you have a more professional approach to this business.

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As a PPI operator I "feel threatened" sometimes multiple times a night.  Haven't pepper sprayed anybody yet.. mostly because I don't carry the stuff.  If Mr. Pepper Spray can't take the heat, he should get out of the kitchen.

 

That's my opinion on the matter, since we don't have all the facts, as Mr. Resch mentioned.

 

Richard

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Richard, do you feel the PPI is worth a such confrontation. In this incident which does not involve the other person having a weapon I fail to rationalize the justification. The vehicle was not hooked and the tow operator did not have the authority to cite the vehicle for fire lane violation. Best the tow operator could have done is advise the person to move the vehicle. Personally if they ended up not having the means to do this I would likely continue to hook up. But, I am not going to mace or pepper spray that person without just cause. That being actual fear of harm and even then I have an exit as I do not believe this would hold up as a stand your ground.

 

Stand Your Ground in regards to a Private Property Impound. That would be an interesting subject to dive into. Possibly we can get Micheal Mcgovern into this topic as I am sure he has likely written something about this over the many years.

 

@Michael McGovern

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Doing PPI's is providing a service that's conducted legally. A few years back, southern California's PPI towing was so "out of control" because PPI companies were conducting illegal tactics where some cities initiated "Predatory Task Forces" to convict towers of illegal actions. When holding someone's vehicle and demanding pay, the issue questioned whether or not the acts of illegal PPI's for money was that of "extortion"? Ultimately, California's PPI laws were revised to protect vehicle owners from illegal PPI practices. One change was; a vehicle had to be parked (there) more than one-hour AND, if the vehicle wasn't off-property. it had to be released at the request of its owner. While I agree with Ron's comment that PPI's can be a source of income for professionally run companies, a company doesn't have to be professionally operated to comply within the letter of state law. At some point, if illegal or over-aggressive tactics like pepper-spraying a person trying to get their car released according to law, towers may be headed to jail as the result of a battery unpon that person. To make that situation worse, the tow truck would be seized as evidence for that crime. Based on those possibilities, releasing the vehicle and finding another makes better sense. Note: There always will be another vehicle.     R.


Randall C. Resch

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"There always will be another vehicle."

 

That has always been the position I have taken when I was conducting PPI's Legally. There's always another Illegally Parked Vehicle, this one is not worth the hassle. Luckily all the vehicle had to be is hooked properly to the tow truck to request a drop fee. The drop fee was either minimal or half to regular tow charge. If the person needed to go to an ATM then there was a waiting period and we did not charge additional. However, if they did not return in during that wait time then we would leave with the vehicle. If they chose to call the police it was either stay another just to inconvenience them further or release the vehicle and move on. If the police showed up, it would become a civil matter. They would provide the vehicle owners information and you would be told to release the vehicle. Best bet was to get that vehicle off the property as soon as possible, even if they show up at that point then either they pay you the drop fee or you take it to the lot. Problem is most drivers do not know the legal aspects to PPI towing in their area or simply do not care. Yes, I have seen tow truck drivers go to jail during a PPI or for that matter even a REPO for various reasons. You ask what. OK, this was the most common back in the day "A Warrant" generally it was for "Child Support". Really and they the tow truck driver was fine with involving the police. Geesh, it's like this guy that has enough legal problems that he is still out forcibly taking vehicles. Go Figure!

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22 hours ago, TowZone said:

Richard, do you feel the PPI is worth a such confrontation. In this incident which does not involve the other person having a weapon I fail to rationalize the justification. The vehicle was not hooked and the tow operator did not have the authority to cite the vehicle for fire lane violation. Best the tow operator could have done is advise the person to move the vehicle. Personally if they ended up not having the means to do this I would likely continue to hook up. But, I am not going to mace or pepper spray that person without just cause. That being actual fear of harm and even then I have an exit as I do not believe this would hold up as a stand your ground.

 

Stand Your Ground in regards to a Private Property Impound. That would be an interesting subject to dive into. Possibly we can get Micheal Mcgovern into this topic as I am sure he has likely written something about this over the many years.

 

@Michael McGovern

I probably could have elaborated on my thoughts but reading the account of what happened fired me up and I just shot from the hip..  no, it's not worth the confrontation if he believes it needs to go to the level of pepper spraying someone.  I'm sure that situation exists but I can say in 17 years I have encountered VERY few, and I mean VERY few situations that could not be de-escalated.  Some people go about their entire work day/night escalating situations into huge scenes and/or violence.  That's my point about if he can't take the heat (deal with tense situations better), he should get out of the kitchen (find a less challenging line of work.)

 

Richard

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There is no need to let it get to that point. It could be a number of issues that plague this particular driver. A few I can think of..

1- He's trying to get every penny he can and will do what ever to get it

2- He has a tough guy complex and confronting PPI customers is his way of showing how big and bad he is.

3- He doesnt know the laws that bind his areas of duty

4- He DOES know the laws that bind his areas of duty and any loopholes that may be in them.

5- ALL OF THE ABOVE

Now, i do SOME PPI work, It is not my bread and butter and truth be told, I dont like doing it But there is good money in it. I follow the letter of the law to a T. Even though I feel some of it is unfair to the towers, It is the law. 

I do admire guys like Richard who do this type of work professionally, with dignity and skill. It is a trade that is not for everyone. It requires the right mindset and a calm demeanor. It is not an occupation for wanna-be tough guys. 


PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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I won't say I've never lost my temper, I sure have more than a few times, but it's a numbers game when you're towing a couple thousand of PPI's per year!  Arguing and fighting with people doesn't pay the bills.

 

Richard

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