Car rental giant Hertz has agreed to pay $168 million in false arrests lawsuits after hundreds of false stolen car reports allegedly put its Black customers at risk.
According to The Hill, Hertz announced that it’d pay the whopping amount to settle 364 customers’ claims that the company falsely accused them of stealing vehicles. The announcement arrived on Dec. 5, after hundreds of customers filed various lawsuits against Hertz stating that they were wrongly arrested, held at gunpoint and thrown in jail over cars they didn’t steal.
“As I have said since joining Hertz earlier this year, my intention is to lead a company that puts the customer first. In resolving these claims, we are holding ourselves to that objective,” the company’s CEO Stephen Scherr, said about the $168 million settlement via a statement. He previously acknowledged the false reports, The Hill reported.
One of the plaintiffs, Saleema Lovelace– a member of Philadelphia’s 39th Police District Advisory Council–told NewsNation she was arrested in January 2021 after extending and paying for her Dollar vehicle rental. She alleged that as she was driving home from helping the Plymouth Police Department with standoff negotiations, she and her elderly father were surrounded by dozens of Plymouth police officers, who had their guns drawn. At the time, a shaken Lovelace panicked, as she had no idea why officers demanded she gets out of her car and walks backward with her hands up.
“Roll your windows down. Put your hands outside,” one officer yelled before another shouted, “Drop the keys outside the window,” via a speaker.
“Slowly exit the car, facing the store, away from us,” another ordered.
Lovelace was then handcuffed and later charged with a felony.
Other Black customers who filed claims against Hertz for a false arrest reportedly spent time behind bars and lost their jobs and homes. All of them have been scarred by their traumatic encounters with police for crimes they allegedly didn’t commit.
Hertz said the settlement would solve over 95 percent of pending claims about the issue. The company added that it would recover a “meaningful portion” of the settlement amount from insurance companies and planned to make the payment by the end of 2022.