NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An assault on an Uber driver in Manhattan left the victim with serious injuries, and a long hospital stay.
Now, there’s a new push to bring the attackers to justice, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported Sunday.
From smiling and leading prayers at his local mosque to now comatose, and unable to communicate, a hospital bed photo of 54-year-old Uber driver Mohamed Al-Gahaffi is what family members said they want the public to see, giving it to Carlin in the hope that it brings arrests and justice for this hardworking father who was viciously attacked while on the job almost a month ago.
His nephew spoke to reporters outside the hospital.
“He doesn’t deserve it because he’s been a great man to a lot of people,” the nephew said. “Hopefully we’ll get to hear his voice soon. For now we’ll pray that he gets up and for whoever is responsible to be delivered justice.”
The brutal beating that cracked Al-Gahaffi’s skull and left bleeding on his brain happened on Feb. 5 at 4:30 a.m. Surveillance video shows the immediate aftermath, with men who had been part of a group inside Al-Gahaffi’s Uber. The attack, itself, was just out of camera range.
The NYPD also released a photo of the man police said attacked Al-Gahaffi. Police said the main suspect in this case was in the back of the vehicle drinking alcohol and did not like being told to stop.
Police also put out photos of four others who they said were along for the ride from Woodside to Manhattan’s East 62nd Street, near Second Avenue.
Investigators are showing their faces to up the pressure on them to talk.
“Are coming close and I believe arrests are imminent in this case,” NYPD Deputy Chief Brian Magee said.
That this dedicated driver was trying to maintain order and safety inside his vehicle did not surprise longtime friends.
The 54-year-old divorced father of a 21-year-old daughter came to the United States from Yemen in the early 1990s, and spent decades as a yellow cab driver before switching to Uber.
The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and the Yemeni American Merchants Association announced a $5,000 reward for information and are joining other groups in setting up funds to offset the high cost of what will be long-term medical care.
“Hopefully they will turn themselves in,” said Abdul Mubarez of Yemeni American Merchants Association.
Some industry experts say any driver of for-hire vehicles, including Uber, should be given cameras to monitor the back seat and panic buttons to summon help when rides, like this one, go very wrong.
Some of the victim’s family members remain in Yemen and his daughter is currently in Ethiopia. She is still trying to get approval of a visa for travel to her father’s side.
Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.