Black Business Owner Sues City Of Memphis, MPD, Alleging Harassment, Intimidation Due To Race

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – The owner of a local towing company is suing the City of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department, alleging that throughout the operation of his business, city officials have been harassing him and his employees and attempted to shut down his company because it is minority-owned.

The suit, filed by Colton Cathy, owner of A1’s Towing & Hauling, alleges that numerous city officials, including MPD officers, have acted in malice towards him and his employees.

The suit was filed Sunday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

According to the suit, A1′s Towing & Hauling tows or boots illegal parkers for private owners on private property. The complaint reads that private parking is available to drivers as long as they pay for parking, and that there are numerous signs explaining that you must pay for parking and that tell the violators the consequences of not paying.

The complaint reads that Cathy’s company operates lawfully and is duly licensed to boot, tow, and provide security on private property.

The suit claims that officers: have detained and threatened Cathy and his employees as they were towing illegally parked vehicles, allowed drivers the right to trespass and destroy company property, and forced his employees to release vehicles even though drivers refused to pay illegal parking fees.

Cathy alleges that officers have been conspiring with several drivers to harass and manufacture charges against himself and his employees in order to accomplish the city’s discriminatory goals.

The suit claims one officer bluntly said, “We don’t like your business” after being asked why an illegal parker was allowed to leave private property without paying a fine.

Cathy contends that city officials were weaponizing Civil Municipal Ordinance 5679 to discriminate against his minority-owned company. He alleges that nothing in the ordinance allows officers to arrest him or his employees or even operate on private property.

The company seeks recovery from the city, MPD, and police officers involved for the alleged injuries and damages endured.

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