NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The New York taxi union is calling for an investigation after a cabbie said he was punched and bitten by a passenger on Sunday.
The alleged incident happened on October 2 around 11 p.m. at 57th Street and 10th Avenue. Haroon Rashid, 40, said he was assaulted by a male passenger.
Rashid told 1010 WINS that his passenger “just grabbed me in the neck and bit me in the back.”
The driver said he picked the couple up at 22nd Street and 10th Avenue and was taking them to 57th Street and 10th Avenue.
The couple was apparently upset because, as they approached their destination, Rashid was unable to drop them off on the right side of the street, instead of the left. Rashid said that he was unable to do so because of traffic.
An argument ensued between the pair and Rashid. The cabbie said that the situation escalated as he called police. He said the couple started fighting with him and cursing at him, saying the would not pay him the cab fare.
“I called the cops, during the 911 call, he was start like cursing me and then after that the lady told him that you can just give him the fare,” Rashid said. “He give me the fare and told the lady to get out. When she got out, this guy just tried to punch me in the face,” he said.
The taxi union said that another driver noticed what was happening and kept his taxi idle next to the open door of Rashid’s cab, while Rashid closed the door.
“This guy was trying to flee, but there was another cab who just stuck him on the left side — so he couldn’t get out,” he said.
A police officer who was dispatched to the scene saw Rashid bleeding and wounded, but “did nothing,” according to the taxi union statement.
“The police came and they told him that we can arrest you both — ‘you can both go to the jail or you can just go away.’ So if I prefer to go away because if I give the arrest, my license is going to be suspended,” Rashid said.
Police told 1010 WINS “we have no official report of the incident.”
Rashid was able to drive himself to a hospital, where he was treated and required stitches.
“I was feeling shock that this passenger I just served would punch me and try to choke me then bite me. Then the police just let him go, like my blood was nothing. I was helpless like I never feel in 15 years of driving,” Rashid is quoted as saying in the statement.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance is now calling on the Department of Investigations to look into the incident.
“We are tired of hearing about officers who threaten to arrest drivers instead of protecting them. This police officer taught an assailant that you can viciously and violently assault a taxi driver and get away with it scot-free. He needs to be reprimanded and the department as a whole needs to stop treating taxi drivers like second-class citizens not worthy of a safe life, NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said.
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