A student working as a Livery driver to pay his way through medical school is likely scarred for life after he was beaten and slashed across the face by a belligerent passenger in the Bronx. Raymond Adjetey picked up the man who would be his attacker on the night of August 5.
Adjetey says the assailant was arguing on the phone with his girlfriend during the ride, and changed destinations twice. The second time, Adjetey decided to cut the trip short and asked the passenger to get out of the car. He was then attacked.
The assailant bashed the driver in the head with his phone, then threatened him with a knife, telling him to take him to his destination. Fearful, Adjetey took the car to the Tracey Towers on Mosholu Parkway and threatened to call 911.
“He said that if he goes to jail he’s going to do seven years. So, he would rather cut me my face, so at least, even if he’s in jail, I too have a mark,” Adjetey said.
The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers is asking the NYPD for camera images that they can share with their drivers, and are asking police to issue “amber alerts” when these types of crimes occur.
Adjetey is expected to need further reconstructive surgeries to repair his face.
Black Car News recommends all drivers consider the following safety tips:
- When starting a trip, always make eye contact and greet the passenger (no more handshakes). This will help you identify the passenger in case of an incident; it also lets them know you have seen them and may raise doubts in their mind about committing a crime.
- Consider a partition and/or an in-vehicle camera system. A dashcam records events on the road and inside the vehicle. Be sure to post decals stating cameras are present.
- If an incident does occur, maintain eye contact, if possible, but stay calm and friendly. Try to keep a safe distance and observe the assailant’s “body language” to assess threat levels.
- Try to remain calm. Follow any commands promptly. Speak in a low, soft, calming tone.
- When not driving, park in well-lit areas, and keep doors locked and windows rolled up. If someone approaches your car, open the window just wide enough to speak with them – limiting their ability to grab or attack you.
- Keep windows and windshields clean. Use the minimal amount of tinting.
- Never flash cash and don’t wear expensive watches or jewelry. Post signage on passenger doors stating there is minimal cash on hand. Make frequent deposits and use cashless transactions as often as possible.
- If your passenger has a large-value bill, tell them you just made a deposit and don’t have change, but can stop at a nearby store so they can break it.
- Always stay alert and aware, whether you are parked or driving. Getting the proper rest, exercising, and proper nutrition are essential to staying alert.
- Require a specific address or location, before you start a trip. Beware of customers who give you vague instructions.
- Politely ask customers to sit on the passenger-side in the rear of the vehicle. Most assaults and homicides take place from the seat directly behind the driver. If need be, tell them it’s company policy and they have more legroom.
- Check-in with your dispatcher at regular intervals. Develop a discreet warning system that alerts dispatch if you are in danger.
- Never resist a robbery or chase someone who skips a fare. Don’t argue, give them what they want.
- Study/learn the local geography, so you can avoid dangerous areas. GPS is great but it’s essential to know your way around.
- Be extra cautious between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am – and particularly between midnight and 4:00 am, when most robberies and assaults occur.
- Never tell customers you had a good shift; they’ll assume you have cash on hand. If they ask the question, politely change the subject.
- Never drive into alleys or back lanes. If a passenger insists, tell them your company policy states: “no back lanes or alleys.”
- Do not be argumentative. Drivers are at a distinct disadvantage in a physical confrontation, facing the wrong way if they are attacked from behind.
- Drivers should never accept trips from an improperly licensed and/or under-insured company. Most violent assaults in NYC occur in vehicles where the driver is breaking the law transporting a passenger they aren’t legally allowed to pick up. In New York State, workers’ compensation benefits are only available to TLC-licensed drivers injured while completing a legally-dispatched trip in a TLC-licensed vehicle.
Source: ABC 7 New York