NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A cab driver accused of stabbing a passenger last month in the Bronx turned himself into police Monday morning, but he says he didn’t do it.
Now cabbies want to prevent this kind of thing from happening with a new idea.
Livery cab driver Sandy de Jesus Rodriguez, accused of stabbing a passenger, walked into the 48th precinct house Monday morning solemnly and silently.
He’s backed by the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, who are speaking for him.
“We believe he is the victim, not the criminal,” said NYSFTD spokesman Fernando Mateo.
Mateo says he knows video of the incident doesn’t look good for Rodriguez. It shows him, wearing a white shirt, in a scuffle with another man last month.
The NYPD said the 42-year-old cabbie from Levittown is facing charges of menacing, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
Police sources told CBS2 the driver followed the 21-year-old passenger home, demanding he pay his fare. When the man refused, the driver allegedly stabbed him in the lower abdomen.
“We understand he has an object in his hand and he’s waving it, but at no moment did he stab the person that robbed him,” Mateo said.
Mateo says we don’t see what happened before the video, and claims a female passenger not only didn’t pay her fare, but allegedly robbed Rodriguez of $190.
He ran after her and then ran into the man in the video, who Rodriguez is accused of stabbing. Police say that man was treated at the hospital.
“If you look at the video closely when he went in, he went after the woman. The guy was there and lunged at him,” Mateo said.
The incident happened in the entrance of a building on Webster Avenue. CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke with a resident there who asked we hide his identity.
“It’s not right to steal from anyone. But it’s almost worse to pull a weapon out,” he said.
“[Rodriguez] is very sad. He’s got two kids, a wife. He’s crying, he’s saying ‘Why did I get out of the car? Why did I go after the $190?’ He’s second guessing everything that happened that day,” Mateo said.
The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers says it is common for livery drivers to be left unpaid by passengers, and this isn’t the first time it happened to Rodriguez.
“They’re tired of this happening. These guys have done it to him. The same two people did it to him four months ago and he called 911,” Mateo said. “The solution is to allow them what they allow Uber and Lyft to do: Charge before the ride.”
Mateo plans to work with legislators to try and make that a reality. But for now, he’s working with Rodriguez and his attorney to try and clear his name.
The passenger was treated at the hospital, but sources said he was uncooperative and didn’t not want to file a report since he considered his injuries minor.