First Person

Reporting the cabbie who groped me got results

Speaking up meant getting some justice for that cabbie violation (NOTE: not the taxi in question). via Flickr user Matt Green

If you remember, towards the end of 2014 I wrote about a groping incident that happened to me in the back of a green cab. In that post, I said that I planned to testify in court in order to see that this cabbie have his license revoked. A lot has happened since then—but most importantly, the TLC handed the driver an actual sentence, bringing me some much-needed peace of mind. So today, I’m writing as a reminder that reporting assault of any kind is the best thing you can do for yourself and for others.

Not that all of this happened immediately. First, there was a preliminary settlement hearing held in early January (which I didn’t have to attend), where the cab driver denied having touched me. Then, I got my court date— but it wasn’t until March 9 (this past Monday). That was going to be over three months since the date of the original incident. What could I do? The courts were backed up. My attorney informed me that a plea deal might be reached before the date, but I was skeptical.

This past Friday, with two days until trial, my attorney called to inform me that the driver had suddenly agreed to plead guilty. That meant he would pay $3,000 in fines, and suffer a two-month suspension of his license. Going to court would have run him the risk of losing his license entirely. I could have pushed for the trial, too. But I said it when this first happened, and I’ll say it again here: at its best, justice is not a form of revenge. It is a form of clarification. In this case, even the temporary suspension still clarifies for that driver the problem with what happened in his cab. Not to mention, there’s now a permanent mark on his record that’ll engender much greater consequences if he ever tries something like this again.

A lot of people feel that pursuing a harassment or assault case is petty, and that it will only lead to dead-ends, dismissals or witness protection situations the likes of which Law and Order has never dreamed. But real life doesn’t have that much bravado: sometimes they just get the guy, and he just gets fined, and everything quiets down again.

Recently there was another, even more horrific assault by a cab driver in Brooklyn. The victim also decided to report it immediately, and now plans to testify against her assailant. If there’s anything I hope you can take from these news-making accounts 0f assault and their eventual resolutions, it’s that speaking up is the shortest distance between a crime and its counterpoint.  Don’t turn to your social media following for absolution when you feel helpless. Use the authorities, and trust in the possibility of good authority.


  1. 2cent

    Next time use UBER. Situations like this have happened all the time since the beginning of cabs. Lucky for you, now you can use Uber App to trace any driver misdeed(s), mishap, or improper billing. If you are drunk or otherwise incoherent, stray far from taxis–Uber can be your bff in protecting you during situations like this. Even if you “black out,” the app will remember for you. There’s a lot of evidence stored in that little ride app. If you don’t have it, you could be left wondering who the hell was the cabbie who “turned on the wrong street” and got lost, resulting in harm to you or an exorbitant bill (admittedly they do this to tourists more often than locals).

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