MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police are investigating a violent assault against a cab driver in broad daylight, and there’s video of how it all unfolded. It happened at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at 34th & Humboldt Ave. in north Minneapolis.
An internal cab camera shows one passenger breaking through the plastic barrier and grabbing the driver. Two others get out of the cab and open the driver’s door, attacking from the other side. In total, four people gang up on this man, who tries to drive away, but hits a parked car.
The attackers eventually runoff.
“A lot of drivers are scared. I can’t blame them, I can’t ask them to put themselves in danger,” said Albert Lenoir manages drivers for Blue and White Taxi in St. Louis Park.
He says recently there’s been a spike in his drivers getting assaulted on their routes.
“We’ve been getting drivers that have been getting beat up because the young kids, they don’t want to pay,” said Lenoir.
Lenoir says there have been five incidents of their drivers being attacked in the last three weeks, one of those incidents back in July was deadly.
“We had one driver die,” said Lenoir, “One guy stole a tablet and the driver tried to chase him to try and get the thief, and he shot and killed him.”
Lenoir says most of these assaults are done by teenagers in groups of three or more. After Tuesday’s assault, he instated a new safety policy.
“I sent out a message this morning that says if they go anywhere and it’s more than two people they don’t have to pick them up,” said Lenoir.
Most of the assaults have been in cash-only requested rides. He believes the motivation is simple: They don’t want to pay.
Lenoir says he’d rather lose money if it means keeping his drivers safe.
“I’m not going to put them in a situation where I have to call their wives and tell them their husband is dead, put them in that danger,” said Lenoir.
Lenoir says right now Minneapolis has a policy that doesn’t allow drivers to accept fairs upfront. He hopes this policy changes or cash cabs get eliminated to avoid future assaults.