Jerome Davis and Veronica Walker-Davis found themselves caught in Chicago’s impound racket through no fault of their own. In May of 2018, the Davises took their family car, a 2006 Lexus E330, to a repair shop. At some point, a shop employee took their car on a joyride without the Davises’ permission or knowledge. The police stopped the car, arrested the employee for driving on a revoked license, and impounded the car. When the Davises called the shop asking why it was taking so long for their car to be finished, the shop lied to them saying it was just waiting for parts.

The Davises kept calling the shop until an employee admitted that the car had actually been impounded nearly three weeks before. Veronica promptly requested a hearing, and showed up with evidence that the car had been in the shop. But her innocence was no defense under Chicago’s ordinances. The court ruled that the Davises must pay thousands to get their car back. Veronica was shaken by the ruling, stating that it made her feel “like a criminal,” even though she had done nothing wrong.

It took time, however, for the Davises to collect the amount owed. And, when Veronica and Jerome went to get their car, they were told that it was gone. The city had already disposed of it; either selling it, scrapping it, or keeping it for police use. Now the Davises are suing the city of Chicago to end the unconstitutional impound racket.

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