The three teenagers charged in the assault, who are black, allegedly spewed racial slurs as they reached through the window and punched passenger Brian Goldman, who is white.
Racial epithets can be used as evidence of ethnic intimidation, Jamerson said, but cannot be the sole indicator. To allege racial intimidation, she said, authorities would need additional proof that the teenagers committed the assault due to hatred of Goldman's race.
The three teenagers, who have not been identified because they are juveniles, have been charged with assault, conspiracy, and related charges.
The cab was stopped at a red light at 15th and Chestnut Streets around 8:30 p.m. Saturday when Goldman, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, felt a blow from a punch through the open window. Goldman got out and saw up to 10 teenagers swarming the cab.
The 53-year-old cabdriver, who could not be reached for comment, also climbed out and threatened the teenagers with a tire iron. Though some ran away, one hit the driver from behind, Goldman said.
The driver later told police he heard the teenagers using racial slurs toward Goldman. Goldman, who said he never heard them, fled the scene after a minute.
"Initially I was really shocked and angered by this," he said Thursday. "But now I just feel fortunate that the driver and I made it out with minimal injuries."
Goldman said the incident had not made him fearful of spending time downtown.
"I love Philly," he said. "Nothing will change that."
Contact staff writer Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or firstname.lastname@example.org.