DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Police are now investigating a booting company that charged a man $650 to remove a boot from his work truck.
Channel 2's Christian Jennings first reported about the booting incident in DeKalb County on Tuesday.
Kevin Caldwell said that morning, one of his employees got a boot when he parked outside Southern Comfort in Conley. ABL Booting handed him the $650 bill.
Last year, DeKalb County passed an ordinance that capped the cost of booting fines at $150. The ordinance went in to effect Dec. 6. Police showed up to the incident in Conley, but still allowed workers to charge the high fee.
Jennings reached out to DeKalb officials about why ABL was still allowed to charge $650. DeKalb County sent a statement saying, “While the officer was unaware of the effective date for the fee restrictions, the police department has the contact information for the parties involved in the incident. The police department will investigate and issue a citation if warranted.”
Jennings talked to the owner of ABL Booting, Ryan Taylor, about why he was still charging customers higher fines despite the new ordinance.
"The immediate fine reduction is in conflict with what is going on on the street," Taylor said. "The county has ordered us to reduce our boot fines, but they haven't given us a chance to change the signage.”
Taylor said he won't be refunding anyone's money. He claims he was originally told he could continue business as usual until permits were ready at the county.
"We had been given information by code enforcement as well as DeKalb police that fines were not reduced immediately," Taylor said.
Caldwell said he thinks the entire practice of booting is unfair.
"It's an enterprise set up on vultures creating their own victims, and I think that's wrong," Caldwell said.
Jennings spoke with Nancy Jester, one of three county commissioners who voted against the new ordinance. She wanted booting banned all together.
"People are just sitting out in parking lots waiting for people to park," Jester said. "Then they boot, then there's a conflict. You can see how this can lead to violence."
Local attorney Matt Wetherington already has a pending lawsuit against ABL for a different booting case. He agrees with Jester.
“Cherokee County, Macon, Savannah, they don’t allow booting by private companies,” said Wetherington. He wants DeKalb and Atlanta to follow suit.
ABL owner Ryan Taylor said he will not be booting cars in DeKalb County anymore because charging just $150 doesn't cover his expenses and isn’t worth it.
© 2020 Cox Media Group