Caught On Tape: Pedicab Operator, Officer Struggle - NBC New York

Caught On Tape: Pedicab Operator, Officer Struggle

Drivers say they're being unfairly targeted



    Caught On Tape: Pedicab Operator, Officer Struggle
    A confrontation between a pedicab operator and a parks officer was caught on videotape in New York last month.

    After a local pedicab driver's confrontation with police was caught on video, other drivers have come forward with allegations that they're being unfairly targeted.

    Amadou Traore, 19, said he was trying to reason with a park ranger who was about to ticket Traoare's friend, but he ended up spending a week in jail.

    "He said he's going to arrest me because my friend got away and I said, 'No, you can't arrest me because I didn't do nothing,'" Traore said.

    Last year, the Parks Department said Traore, who stands 6-feet-5 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds, fought with another ranger, but this time he said he was careful not to. Now, he's thinking of a career change.

    Park Police Confrontation Caught On Tape

    [NY] Park Police Confrontation Caught On Tape
    A confrontation between police officers and a pedi-cab driver was caught on tape in New York last month.
    (Published Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009)

    "Before I started riding the pedicabs, I'd never been arrested," he said. "But since I started riding pedicabs, I've been arrested four times."

    Ever since Traore's arrest last month, other pedicab operators have been saying they're being targeted in a ticketing blitz, alleging that some of their bikes have been taken away. Frankie Legarreta said he's one of them. He took his complaint to a judge after his bike was taken away on New Year's Eve.

    "Twenty minutes later, he gave me the decision it was dismissed," Legarreta said. "What does that tell you? Tells me they took my bike for no reason. I've got a family to support. I'm trying to make a living."

    Parks Department officials said they wrote 2,609 violations last year, and most are upheld.

    "I don't think there's any targeting of pedicabs," Parks spokesman Mike Dockett said. "We've been upholding the rules for public safety in the park."