New York, USA — The Federation of Taxi Drivers call for justice after a livery cab driver got brutally beaten by a group of teens in Brooklyn on July 17.
Cabbie Hernando Rangel received a call around 7:30 p.m. to pick up seven teenage passengers at the corner of Pulaski St. and Marcy Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. They allegedly requested to be driven to different locations in East New York.
“I felt odd when they tried to get in,” Rangel said. He then asked for payment upfront, which the group agreed. However, they refused to give Rangel a drop-off address.
Consequently, Rangel told the teenagers to get out of his car, for which he took a fist to the face from the young man in the front passenger seat. Five of the teens got out, but two of the boys started to beat him, taking turns.
“He grabbed the cord for my chargers and equipment,” the driver said. “I tried to stop him, then he just started beating me.”
Furthermore, Rangel tried to hit the accelerator but found it difficult to drive and defend himself from the reckless teens simultaneously.
The beating went on for blocks. Finally, two cops on patrol spotted the commotion and arrested one of the teens in the cab – allegedly in the midst of still beating Rangel.
The other teen tried to escape but was eventually arrested.
Rangel was taken to Woodhull Hospital by the police. He suffered a broken nose and severe injuries to his face.
The youths were taken to the 79th Precinct but were released because they were minors.
The driver, who has been working as a taxi driver for almost 22 years, claims he is now frightened to return to work.
“This was an emotional shock for me and my family,” he said. “You never recover from something like this.
He furthered: “It’s been eight days from the punches I received. What happened to my face will heal. But the scars I have when I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of the kids beating me — that will take time. It hasn’t been easy and it won’t be easy. I don’t know how long it will take to recover.”
New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers spokesman Fernando Mateo released a statement during a Monday press conference in Brooklyn. “The practice of justifying a crime because of your age must stop. The practice of prosecutors not pressing charges against a minor who committed a brutal crime must stop.”