Four days after footage of a verbal tirade that a member of the NYPD’s Joint Terrorism Task Force unleashed on an Uber driver went viral, taxi and livery drivers rallied outside Penn Station to call attention to a plight that they say is a frequent occurrence.
“This is common, this is happening all the time,” driver Armughan Asar told CBS.
“There’s a lot of different ways the police harass us,” said Javaid Tariq-hes,another driver. “Police is always talking to us like we are not human, they treat us very badly, they talk to us very badly.”
In the video, taken by Uber passenger Sanjay Seth and uploaded to YouTube, Detective Patrick Cherry can be seen hurling xenophobic comments yelling obscenities at the driver, who remains quiet and respectful. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton responded to the incident saying, “No good cop can watch that without a wince,” and “That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform.” Cherry, who has a racked up a record of complaints against him, was put on modified duty and has been transferred away from the specialized task force.
While justice was served with Cherry’s case, there are countless other incidents like this happening across the city that go ignored, says Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai. “While this one incident was videotaped and for the world to see, it’s that kind of a verbal harassment that taxi drivers face every day,” Desai told CBS. “They get pulled over randomly and get treated like criminals.”