OKLAHOMA CITY - A few days ago, Patrick McKenzie walked to a parking lot not far from his Oklahoma City apartment.
But, what he found on his car left him surprised.
“It just didn't feel right that they could just hold my vehicle hostage like that,” he said.
McKenzie has been parking his car in the lot for many years but, as of recently, he came out and found a boot on the vehicle.
While shocked, he did some research and found the actions were actually illegal.
“So, I spent the rest of the day just figuring out a way to either get the boot off and to find out whether or not it was legal for them to do that," McKenzie said.
A 5-year-old city ordinance reads no one other than the government can place a boot on your car.
McKenzie said he recently changed banks, which stopped the automated parking payments.
However, McKenzie said American Parking didn't want to hear the excuses.
“I was out here with the car talking to somebody in their office, and they were just very smug about it. They didn't really seem to care. They just really wanted their money,” McKenzie said.
The next day, McKenzie called police who sided with him and the law.
“Even if you're operating a private lot, you cannot boot vehicles. People have the right to come back out and leave if they want to,” said Captain Paco Balderrama.
Balderrama said, if you get caught illegally booting cars, you can get cited with a misdemeanor.
“Just for public awareness, that's something that's not allowed in Oklahoma City and, if that does happen, they need to call the police," he said.
As for McKenzie, his advice to drivers is to always do your homework.
“Just know what your rights are. There's ordinances out there and research out there. The internet is a wonderful thing,” he said.
We did reach out to American Parking.
Our messages have yet to be returned.
McKenzie’s attorneys are investigating the viability of a class action lawsuit.