A man claims a group of Southern California women known as the “Lipstick Bounty Hunters” physically assaulted him and blinded him in one eye when they attempted to bring him into custody last month.
They say they were just trying to do the job they were hired to do.
Dressed in all pink, with matching pink handcuffs, the Lipstick Bounty Hunters tried and failed to apprehend Daniel Duvall, 35, at an Arby’s in Huntington Beach, Calif., on March 18, after his bail bond was revoked.
In a video posted to YouTube by Teresa Golt, the owner of the Lipstick Bounty Hunters, the women appeared to chase Duvall out of the restaurant, stun him with a stun gun and shoot him with rubber bullets.
“We tried to meet up with him and he failed to show up and stopped answering phone calls,” Golt told ABCNews.com. “When we walked into Arby’s with my group, he made eye contact with me. He knew who I was. It wasn’t out of the blue. The minute I made eye contact with him, I approached him quickly, told him his bond was revoked. He was struggling, fighting and not allowing me to handcuff him. He knew prior to Arby’s that his bond was revoked. So I tased him as he was running out the door.”
Duvall’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, said the women used excessive force and broke his client’s nose. He claimed that they blinded him permanently in the right eye with two rubber bullets.
“It is like the Wild, Wild West in California as it relates to bounty hunters – and these are some out-of- control female bounty hunters that are being negligent,” Gilleon said. “My client was shot in the right eye and can’t see. They think this is a lawless business, but it isn’t. It is assault and battery.”
Golt said Duvall was never pepper sprayed, and that more excessive force could have been used to try to apprehend him.
“I believe we didn’t use enough force, because if we had he would have never gotten away,” she said. “We did not anticipate he would not come alone. In fact, he showed up with five to six buddies and three cars.”
Nevertheless, Gilleon is threatening to file suit against Golt and her company, as well as the bail bondsmen, bail bond companies and insurance companies involved – and to report the bounty hunters to the California Attorney General’s Office, specifically claiming assault and battery, and false arrests.
Golt said she has yet to be served with any lawsuit.
Duvall initially had been released on bond amid drug and weapon charges, and was being pursued because he paid only $1,000 of a $5,000 bail bond he owed, Golt said.
However, Gilleon said the original bond was for $100,000 with a premium of $10,000. He said Duvall was only forced to pay $1,000 of the bond, which proved he was not a flight risk to the bondsman.
“The standard is this: If you don’t get the guy to pay upfront for his premium, there is no cause. He paid his $1,000 and everything should’ve been fine from there,” Gilleon said. “My client posted the bond and they let him go free for payment of $1,000. That shows he [the bondsman] wasn’t concerned about the risk.”
Golt said Duvall’s bond was revoked because he “paid using a closed account” and payment never went through.
“We were also given other information that Duvall was going to flee to [the] state of Georgia,” she said. “That was another reason for his bond being revoked.”
California Penal Code 1299, which governs fugitive recovery, is broad and does not list anything about acceptable use of force, Gilleon said.
“The women assert they are operating under contract law and that contract law allows them to do what they are doing,” he said.
After 15 days of searching, the Lipstick Bounty Hunters eventually apprehended Duvall Tuesday night in his home.
Gilleon accused the Lipstick Bounty Hunters of being “willing to do these arrests dirt cheap, simply to obtain more videos for their reality TV show aspirations.”
However, Golt said she has no aspirations to be on a reality show and films her pursuits to “inform and educate others about life as a bounty hunter.”
“We enjoy it and we are thankful for what we do,” she said. “We don’t know of any other female bounty hunters in California, we have our own style and we always get our man. … What we do works for us, and 90 percent of people we arrest are very happy with us.”
Duvall was released again on bond after the Lipstick Bounty Hunters took him into custody Tuesday.