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With Beaten Driver Still In Coma, Advocates Call For Law To Protect Cabbies

Key Chun Kim Fighting For His Life After Being Assaulted Over Fare Fight
New York City Taxi (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

New York City Taxi (file/credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A taxi driver attacked two weeks ago remains in a coma.

There is now a call not only for a full prosecution, but for a change in the law to protect all cabbies from such assaults.

Outside the hospital where driver Key Chun Kim has for two weeks, supporters and family members spoke of his injuries on Thursday.

“It’s just very tragic and very heartbreaking to see my uncle in this condition,” nephew Stephen Kim told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

The 53-year-old Kim, a Korean immigrant, has driven yellow taxis for 15 years.

“It’s hard to imagine how brother Kim is fighting for his life and the assailant has been released on $10,000 bail,” said Bhairavi Desai, of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

It happened Jan. 1 at Skillman Street and Willoughby Avenue, where Kim had just stopped with a fare.

The brutal assault was witnessed by a bystander who called 911 and then bravely intervened while holding the assailant for police.

“He was just asking for the person to pay the fare and that’s how he was assaulted,” the victim’s sister, Kristin Kim, said.

Arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges was 28-year-old Andrew McElroy.

“It’s now been two weeks and no case has been brought to the grand jury,” Desai said.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney said “It is an ongoing investigation. No decision has been made.”

Three state Assembly members said they will introduce new legislation.

“Any kind of assault will be an automatic felony,” Assemblyman Ron Kim said.

Advocates said they hoping a stiffer law and stiffer penalties will make taxi drivers less of a target for violence.

The Assembly members said that making any assault on a taxi driver a felony would bring the law in line with attacks on first responders.

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