Monday, August 17, 2009

Reader Puzzled by Metro Cops' Actions

From SLB:
I was at the Greenbelt station on the evening of Aug. 4 waiting for the B30 to BWI (That bus route is in need of some major unsucking--my bus came 30 minutes late, with a surly driver, but that's another story.).
Anyway, I saw two men handcuffed in the back seat of a Metro police car. After listening in on what the cop told the men, it seems they were both taxi drivers who'd been in some sort of dispute while lined up at the taxi stand.
The officer took one man out of the car and undid his handcuffs and let him go, then got the other guy out. As he took off his handcuffs, he told the driver "don't ever come back!"
When the man said something, the cop's response was "don't ask me dumb questions, or I'll put you back in the car... if you pick up a fare who wants to be brought here, you can drop him off, but if I ever see you waiting in line here again, I will have you arrested."
So here's my question: Do Metro cops have the right to permanently and unilaterally ban people (in general, or just taxi drivers) from stations?
If not, what procedure should they have used?
I don't know if the taxi driver was happy to get off with being banned but not arrested, but the whole thing seemed pretty heavy handed to me.
If a driver really did something so bad that he could never pick up fares at Greenbelt again, maybe he should have been arrested.

add to Add to Blinkslist add to furl Digg it add to ma.gnolia Stumble It! add to simpy seed the vine TailRank post to facebook


Anonymous said...

No. That's a gross violation of due process rights. Taxi driver suit in 3, 2, 1...

Anonymous said...

Agree with the writer. If the cabbie did something so bad that he wasn't allowed to come back, why just let him go? Prolly too lazy to deal with arresting him.

Glenn said...

With all due respect, I think we're jumping to conclusions here. My theory is that one of the taxi drivers was based in another jurisdiction (DC or VA), and he was trying to pick up a fare in MD - which is a no-no, legally. Taxi drivers start yelling at each other, cop intervenes (or was called by the MD driver within his rights), and the cop is just enforcing the law and trying to keep the peace.

Let's no just assume the worst motivations of the officer involved.

James McPet said...

I don't think the post assumes anything nefarious about the police's action. Just a curiosity.

Glenn said...

The post writer expresses an opinion about "heavy-handedness" of the officer, about whether the taxi drivers received proper procedure, and finally questioning whether the officer should have arrested the driver(s). Seems to me the blog writer and the first 2 commenters are making a lot of assumptions about what was actually going on, based on what the blog writer overheard. That's all I'm saying - there is no doubt a good bit we do not know.

Anonymous said...

Props to Glenn for his comments. I thought it was almost universally known that cab drievrs are legally forbidden from picking up clients outside of their jurisdiction, thus why one cabbie was "banned" from that particular metro station. I guess not, since this post popped up, but again, props to Glenn for helping to educate the population at large.

The policy can seem odd at first glance, but it helps to protect cab drivers overall for making sure their jurisdictions are protected and that a sufficient supply of cabs are always available at all areas. Otherwise, nobody would ever be able to catch a cab in Rosslyn, Bethesda, etc, since all the VA/MD cabs would want to just cross the border and do all their work where it appears more in demand, in D.C. This keeps a plentiful supply of cabs in each jurisdiction and allows VA cabs to get their business at Dulles/National, and MD cabs to get their business at BWI. Cabs can drop off clients at non-jurisdiction stops, but they cant steal the business outside their jurisdiction, which is what it looks like happened here.

Tip of the hat for the police enforcing this law and for Glenn for a job well done responding to this post.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion.

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Site Meter