When Michael Adams was shot dead in 2011, Herbert Alford was 20 minutes away, at the airport in Lansing, Mich. Nonetheless, Alford was convicted in the murder and spent almost five years behind bars before being exonerated last year and freed, CBS Detroit and Michigan Live report. He might have been released early—or never been convicted in the first place—had Hertz turned over a receipt in a timely fashion, according to a lawsuit Alford has now filed against the rental car company. The receipt shows he was at the airport Hertz location six minutes after Adams was shot, WLNS reports, but it was not handed over until 2018. Not only did it take years for Hertz to issue the receipt, but multiple court orders and subpoenas, the lawsuit states.
"There is no question that (Alford) would have avoided going to prison had they produced this documentation" earlier, Alford's lawyer says. "I think they looked at his situation, saw that there was a man, an African American man charged with murder, and this just wasn’t worthy of their time." Says Hertz in a statement, "The characterizations that are being alleged are simply untrue. Most egregious is any claim that race or social economic status had any bearing on our response or its timeliness. ... Hertz never solicits information about someone’s race or ethnicity." The case may be delayed as Hertz is currently in the process of bankruptcy reorganization. The company tells People it was "unable to find the historic rental record from 2011 when it was requested in 2015," but "continued our good faith efforts to locate it. With advances in data search in the years following, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and promptly provided it." (Read more Hertz stories.)