NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A Queens family is calling for a full-scale investigation into the death of a livery cab driver who suffered a heart attack during what some have called a mysterious arrest.
Solenir and Luiz Machado immigrated to New York three decades ago and raised six children in the city, but now Solenir is alone.
“We can’t believe the way he died,” Solenir Machado recently told CBS 2 investigative reporter Tamara Leitner.
Her son claims the night his father died was supposed to be another day at the office.
“It was just a man trying to do his job and provide for his family, just a regular day at work,” Greg Machado said.
Luiz Machado had just dropped off several passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport when he was stopped by a Taxi and Limousine Commission agent because he reportedly lacked the appropriate license plates. Accounts differ regarding the rest of the story, but all parties agree on this sequence of events: TLC agents handcuffed Luiz Machado, he had a heart attack, and passed away.
The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, but the Machado family told CBS 2 that they haven’t been able to get answers.
“We’ve tried to get answers but they’ve been very vague,” Greg Machado said.
Luiz Machado had been driving without a livery license. TLC agents are authorized to write tickets for such violations. They can also impound cars and make arrests, but unlike their NYPD counterparts they do not receive CPR training.
The case has raised questions about training that TLC agents go through.
TLC Commissioner David Yassky told CBS 2 that while agents are not trained in CPR, their preparation is adequate.
“They get standard peace officer training that peace officers around New York receive. I think that training adequate,” he said.
The Machado family said that training was not enough.
“We don’t know anything. We are just waiting for the answers,” a tearful Solenir Machado said.
Greg Machado told CBS 2 that he does not want to see another family suffer the way that his has.
“I don’t want this to happen to another person’s father, or another person’s brother, or another person’s companion. My mom is a wife without a husband. I’m a son and so are my siblings, without a father,” he said.
The Queens district attorney is investigating Luiz Machado’s death but no charges have been filed. It has yet to be determined whether or not a crime was committed.
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