Thugs attack cabbie, passenger

Posted: January 30, 2012

IN A HORRIFIC assault in Center City on Saturday night, three teenagers who were spouting racial slurs pulled a man out of a cab to beat him. And when the cabdriver intervened to stop the assault, the teens turned their rage on him, police said yesterday.

About 8:25 p.m., a cab was stopped at a red light at 15th and Chestnut streets when two 17-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy approached and started calling the male passenger in the back seat racially derogatory names, police said.

The boys then threw an unknown liquid at the cab before they opened the door, pulled the passenger out and started to pummel him, police said.

When the cabbie got out of the car to see what was going on, the passenger ran away and the teens turned on the cabbie. They punched him in the face, kicked him and threw a liquid on him, police said.

Despite being outnumbered, the cabbie grabbed a tire iron from his trunk, at which time the teens ran away. The driver flagged down a police officer, and the three boys were arrested. They were charged as juveniles with aggravated assault and related offenses.

The cabbie suffered an injury to his right eye and had abdominal and side pain, police said. The passenger remains unidentified.

Police said the three teens were black and the cabbie and passenger were white. Police did not immediately know whether the teens would or could face hate-crime charges.

According to police records, the cabbie worked for Liberty Taxi Co., but a dispatcher working there yesterday was surprised none of the drivers he'd spoken with were aware of the assault. Police declined to provide the name of the driver, so the dispatcher could not confirm whether he was an employee.

"This would be something that would be big news," the dispatcher said. "It would have been a highly charged moment that drivers would be talking about."

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