The Reason a Body Shop Is Offering Free Light Repairs

July 15th 2016

Taylor Bell

In the wake of the killing of Philando Castile — a black man killed by police after his girlfriend was reportedly stopped for a broken tail light — one repair shop is making sure the same fate doesn't happen to someone else.


Minnesota-based mobile auto shop Unity Autoworks announced it will be "replacing tail lights and license plate bulbs indefinitely for free" in honor of Castile.

A post on its Facebook page reads: "DONT LET A LIGHT BULB BE THE REASON YOU GET PULLED OVER ... A defective bulb should never be a reason to be murdered."

"A lot of people, more than you might think, are really scared right now, even driving without a license plate light out," Unity Autoworks co-owner Brandon Jefferson told ATTN:. "Tensions are pretty high. [We're] just putting people at ease a little more, not having to worrying about license plate light bulb being out."

As a black man, Jefferson said he and his wife have experienced racial profiling from law enforcement before, something that influenced the decision to create the ad.

"Being both African Americans ourselves, we have had this happen to us before," Jefferson told ATTN:. "Not to that severity, but definitely I have been questioned where am I going, what am I doing ...These questions shouldn't be asked for a tail light being out.

For the most part, people expressed appreciation for the extended free service.

Some even shared their own experiences getting pulled over and harshly questioned for having a broken tail light.

At the same time, some misunderstood the gesture.

"We’ve also had some interested messages from former cops," Jefferson told ATTN:. "Some people have mistaken our wording as far as what side we stand on. This isn't just a service for people of color, but for a whole community, but for anyone needs it."

The free service kicks off Saturday in St. Paul at the Rondo Days festival. Jefferson told ATTN: that he plans to take his mobile business to surrounding cities once a month to offer the free service, but that he is available for house calls at any time.