Updated: Friday, 26 Oct 2012, 3:36 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 26 Oct 2012, 1:27 PM EDT
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Were they un-provoked attackers or people acting in self-defense? The surveillance cameras caught the fight between two women and another pregnant woman at a towing company.
"I think that if Crown Auto Towing Company had acted professionally and done what professional people do, we might not even be talking here today," Pastor Donald Morris, a friend of the defendants, said.
That's one side in a war of words that started earlier this week. Newly-released surveillance video shows a mother and daughter fighting with an employee Monday night, after trying to get their car off the Crown Towing impound lot in New Haven. The accused are part of Pastor Donald Morris' congregation. Speaking on their behalf, Morris says Robyn and Rojanna Handy presented proof that they'd already paid a tow truck driver.
"But rather, they disrespected them, tore the card up, said they lost it, but actually police found it in the trash can, then tried to force them off the property so the evidence could be concealed," Pastor Morris said.
Crown Towing and it's attorney say that card had been at least partially altered.
"People are always offering to pay on the street, we tell them go to city hall. We hand out business cards to thousands of people and tell them this is what you owe, to be courteous, so we don't get into a problem on the streets. They go on ahead and modify the card if they want, but we know that we hand out receipts here from the city, or the city hands them out also," Angel Rivera, the owner of Crown Auto, said.
In fact, the towing company says it's dealt with these people before.
"As a matter of fact, it was February 18, 2010 and she came down and paid her tax bill the 19th, the following day, so she knows how the system works, so, by her saying she paid the tow truck driver, why would you pay him now? You've always paid him here before," Rivera said.
Late Friday morning News 8 received an additional clip, showing the moments apparently just before the fisticuffs.
"The daughter attempted to jump in the car and run Ruthie over. Ruthie stood her ground and said, no, you've got to leave the property," Rivera said.
Pastor Morris is standing by the Handy's though, and says shady towing operations are nothing new.
News 8 asked Pastor Morris if he thought they paid. He said, "Absolutely. I've had so many reports from other people that have been treated the same way by tow collector drivers."
What happened Monday is now in the hands of the courts, but the Pastor asserts the mother and daughter should have at least gotten the card back, if not their car back, that card later found torn up in a Crown Towing trash can by police.
"When they brought the card, they had received the card back that was given to them, a lot of what happened at that gate wouldn't have happened," Pastor Morris said.