In the early morning hours of August 13, NYPD officials say 52-year-old taxi driver, Kutin Gyimah, stopped his mini-van in Queens, near Beach 54 Street and Arverne Boulevard, to drop off passengers. Rather than pay the fare, the group of three males and two females fled on foot and Mr. Gyimah chased after them.
Surveillance video taken around 6:20am showed Gyimah’s cab stopping and the five passengers fleeing, according to an article in the New York Post. Gyimah caught up with one of the assailants and the other suspects circled back and began to beat him. It ended with a punch that knocked him backwards, causing him to fall and slam his head on the sidewalk.
First responders found Gyimah lying there, lifeless, a pool of blood on the sidewalk by his head. He was rushed to St. John’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, leaving left behind a wife and four children – ages 3,5, 7 and 8.
Two men and a teenage girl turned themselves into police in August and were charged in connection with the brutal beating death, after another video emerged of the deadly attack, according to a follow-up article in the New York Post.
Austin Amos and Nickolas Porter, both 20, surrendered to cops at the 101st Precinct on August 17, for allegedly skipping out on a taxi fare and fatally beating Gyimah. Porter was charged with gang assault and theft of service; Amos was hit with theft of service, assault, gang assault and manslaughter for allegedly delivering the final blow that killed Gyimah. The following day, a 15-year-old girl turned herself in, and was charged with gang assault and theft of services. Two other suspects, also believed to be teenage girls, were still wanted in connection with the incident when this was written, but it seems likely they will have been caught by the time you read this.
A $15,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the capture and conviction of the assailants through contributions from the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, Amos Tamam from Curb Mobility, Allen Weingarten at Big Apple Taxi and Matthew W. Daus, Esq. from the Windels Marx Transportation Practice Group. NBC New York reported that the funeral expenses were covered by Big Apple Taxi Fleet Management, the company Mr. Gyimah drove for.
Money is also being raised for the grieving family through a GoFundMe, which can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/kutin-gyimah-a-husband-and-father?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1.
“This is an unspeakable tragedy, suffered by a hardworking family man who helped his fellow New Yorkers during their time of need – working virtually every day throughout the pandemic,” noted Daus, who is also a former chairman of the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC).
The incident occurred within the 101st Precinct, where major crimes are down 5% in 2022 through Aug. 7, compared to the same time last year, but burglaries are up 11%; grand larcenies climbed 15%; car thefts jumped 18% and the number of shooting victims has soared 29%, NYPD data shows.
Shortly after the tragedy, TLC-licensed drivers offered advice in interviews with media outlet, Business Insider. These are a few of their safety tips:
- “If you feel like you’re in a dangerous situation, the worst thing you can do is escalate it. If you see a rider already coming in aggravated, the best thing to do is stay as calm and level-headed as possible.” – Michele Dottin
- “The most important safety tip is to get a dual dash cam that records inside the vehicle. This covers a driver against false accusations and denials on the part of the passenger.” – Jacqueline Wideman
- “Driving requires a lot of skill. However, the most overlooked skill is the ability to smile and say sorry. Road rage is one of the leading causes of car accidents, and the simple act of letting it go keeps everyone safe. Rushing is the leading cause of car accidents. Take your time.” – Johnny Ibradov
- “Try to deescalate a tense situation. Take a deep breath, feel your surroundings, and try to understand the problem. Don’t resist. Don’t panic. Try your best to not argue or fight back. Before you start driving, install a heavy plastic partition in between you and the customer.” – Anwaar Malik
- “Be ready to make a run for it if you’re ever in a stickup situation. Money, valuables, even your car can be replaced, but not your life. At the end of the day, the most important part of the job is getting home safely.” – Raul Rivera
Stay well, stay safe, please heed the above advice, and if you are able, please donate to the family of Kutin Gyimah through their GoFundMe page.