A 17-year-old black student in Oklahoma was allegedly assaulted at a tow company over the title of his car.
Christian Heath, an honors student, said he damaged his car and went to A&W Towing in Sapulpa to pay the bill and retrieve his belongings. But he was shocked to see the way he was treated by the staff of the company.
Heath added that his father had bought the car, which is why the title for the vehicle was not in his name and the previous owner of the car had signed it at the back. Paul Hulbert, who worked at the tow company, took the title inside and made a copy of it.
That is when Heath sensed something was wrong. He got on a call with his father who told him to get the title from Hulbert. However, things took an unexpected turn.
“I just came up and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m here to get my car and [Paul Hulbert] said, ‘OK, do you have the title? He just walked off with it inside, with his copy and my title, so I just swiped it out of his hand,” Heath said. “I didn’t touch him. I made sure not to touch him.”
He added, “He jams his elbow into my stomach where I can't breathe whatsoever, so I push him off me, and his buddy tightens his grip on my neck. Boy, that hurt so bad."
On the other hand, Hulbert had a different story.
“[Heath] grabbed the stuff out of my hand, knocked me down, knocked my glasses off. Then, my friend, who was here, came over and helped me and held the kid down, so we could get our paperwork back,” he said.
Luckily, Heath had a video to prove his story as one of his friends, who had accompanied him to the towing company, began filming the incident.
At one point in the video, Heath can be heard screaming, “I can’t breathe.”
Hulbert replied back, “I said, ‘If you’re being choked, you wouldn’t be screaming.’”
The 17-year-old also added that he believes that the incident was racially motivated because one of the men used a racial slur during the incident.
“He didn’t want to do business with me whatsoever. I think he thought the car was stolen,” said Heath.
Hulbert denies the claim and said it had nothing to do with race.
“Anyone who looks at that thing can tell I didn’t say anything to him. It wasn’t racially biased at all. I mean, I didn’t even know he was black. He’s real light-skinned. I thought he was an Indian or Mexican,” he said.
So, obviously, it had nothing to do with race. Yeah, right.
After the incident, Heath asked his friends to call 911. Ironically, the police also thought he was the culprit and they put him in handcuffs and took him in a police patrol car to the police station.
He was later released.
Heath’s family has hired an attorney after the unpleasant incident.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Jean Pierre Aime Harerimama