A New York City cab driver says he was punched and bitten by a passenger and then told by a police officer that he would also be arrested if he made a complaint against the other man.
Haroon Rashid says he called 911 last Sunday night because a male passenger started hitting him through the partition in his cab, going so far as to bite him behind his ear.
In a press conference held by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance Thursday, Rashid told reporters his passengers, a man and a woman, apparently didn't want to pay the fare, which was under $10, he said.
"They started arguing with me for nothing," he said. "They told me they are not going to pay me."
Rashid said he called police, and the woman then urged the male passenger to pay the fare.
"The guy gave me the money and just started punching me," Rashid said. He said the passenger grabbed him from behind, put him in a chokehold, and repeatedly punched him in the face and shoulders and bit him behind the ear.
Rashid says he didn't get help from the officers who responded. He said one of the cops told him that if he filed a complaint, he would be arrested, too. When Rashid then declined, the officer let the man go.
Rashid received 10 stitches at the hospital.
The attack happened at 57th Street and 10th Avenue, he said.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance is calling for an investigation. The executive director of the union, Bhariavi Desai, added that the group has also been pressing Albany to pass a bill making it a felony to assault a taxi driver, giving them the same protection afforded to bus and subway operators.
NYPD said it was investigating.