An Upstate towing company with controversial practices is back in the spotlight after an incident at Timberlake Apartments in Inman on Saturday.
The owner of Cole’s Towing and Recovery, Christopher Cole, and employee Shannon Black were booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center on charges including four counts of second-degree assault and battery and trespassing after warning.
Cole and Black went before a judge on Sunday afternoon.
Tyrell Oglesby told 7News on Saturday that Cole attempted to tow his car from Timberlake Apartments.
“There was nothing wrong with the car parking or anything like that,” Oglesby said.
When he got word of what was happening, Oglesby and his family went outside to speak with Cole. According to witnesses Cole called Black, his employee, who arrived at the apartment complex with another tow truck.
“At that point Shannon [Black] pulls up, the second Cole’s Towing truck, and tries to hit everybody in the crowd. He jumps out of the truck and just automatically started screaming and cussing at us, to ‘get the f back’ and pepper sprayed everybody in the crowd.” LaShawnda Haynes, a 14-year-old victim’s mother, told 7News. “Children…everybody who was out there got pepper sprayed.”
According to the incident report, Black told police he didn’t spray anyone. Later, he contradicted himself and admitted he and Cole sprayed everyone with mace.
“That’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” said Ashanti Briscoe, a victim. “It hurt so bad.”
“It got like right here,” said 10-year-old Aerionna Gantt as she pointed above her lip. “I’ll tell you that hurt. It really hurt.”
The towing company’s attorney, Steven Hisker, says his clients have a contract with the apartment complex.
Hisker says when people find out their cars are getting towed, sometimes they get defensive.
Hisker told the judge, Cole and Black were just doing their jobs.
“Will you be able to comment on the incident that happened yesterday?” Asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman.
“I can’t comment on the incident. I can tell you that they are going to plead not guilty,” Hisker told 7News. “We are going to fully investigate the matter and they both look forward to their day in court.”
Cole’s bond was set at $30,000.
Black’s bond was set at $20,000.
As of Sunday afternoon, both men were out on bond.
Due to the allegations, the judge ordered a no trespassing notice for both Cole and Black. However, the notice does not apply to the towing company, so other employees can still tow at Timberlake Apartments.
Residents tell 7News that’s not enough.
“I fell like they need to be out of Spartanburg County and I don’t feel like they deserve a business license,” said Timberlake Apartments resident Felicia Haynes.
Cole’s Towing has been a subject of several 7News Investigations: Click here to read more.
7News reached out to Timberlake Apartments to find out if Cole’s Towing has a contract with them. We have not received a response from the apartment complex as of Sunday night.