May 032013

Computer sketch (via NOPD)

The honest taxi drivers of New Orleans should turn in one of their peers who sexually assaulted a woman he was driving through the east Carrollton area early Thursday, so that their profession’s reputation does not suffer from his misdeeds, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Friday afternoon.

“Cab drivers are good, professional, hardworking people,” Serpas said at a mid-afternoon news conference. “You know who this guy is. You know who he is. Tell him to turn himself in; we’re coming to get him.”

In his remarks, Serpas offered several new details of the incident. The 20-year-old woman was picked up by the cab outside an establishment on Tchoupitoulas Street, but passed out in the backseat, and woke up to find the driver sexually assaulting her, Serpas said. No weapon was used, but it was a sexual assault, he said.

Afterward, the driver dropped the woman off at a second location. Serpas praised the victim’s “very good decisions” to go to a medical facility immediately and notify police.

Serpas said investigators are sure the vehicle was a marked taxi cab, but declined to say whether the cab company has been identified. He said they are also working with the taxi industry to see if any of the recent reforms that have been instituted will help solve the case.

The incident’s reported location is the 7600 block of Plum Street, but Serpas declined to specify whether that is where the attack occurred or where the woman was dropped off.

  3 Responses to “NOPD Superintendent Serpas calls on cab drivers to turn in alleged Carrollton-area rapist”

  1. NYPD and the New Orleans Taxi Cab Bureau do not actively
    prevent marked taxi cabs from Jefferson Parish from picking up in New Orleans. I often see cabs from the Westbank Marrero company, Service Cab, and Glenn’s, as well as numerous Kenner airport taxis (which are marked but are not required to be a part of a fleet), illegally picking up fares in Orleans Parrish. The licensing process for these Jefferson Parrish taxis does not include FBI
    background checks that are required to become a New Orleans taxi driver.

    Jefferson Parrish taxis are often seen uptown at F&M, a popular university crowd hangout on Thursday nights. During large city events like Mardi Gras and Jazz-Fest, more Jefferson Parrish taxis illegally move into New Orleans because of the large crowds and increased demand for taxis. These taxis know they have little chance of being stopped for their illegal activity by the police or taxi bureau.

    That being said — how effective is a FBI background check on someone who has only lived in the U.S. for a few years? An FBI check is really only effective in checking the background of someone who has lived in the U.S. for a significant amount of time, not someone who has lived the majority of their life in a foreign country where electronic records do not exist.

    I would also like to point out that the last time a taxi cab driver was accused of rape, his name and photo were shown everywhere in the local media — accusations that were shown to be false after a man’s reputation was destroyed. If this accusation turns out to be true, I hope the perpetrator is swiftly brought to justice.

    This case sure seems to be getting much more attention from Serpas and the NOPD than the recent MURDER of a taxi cab driver. While sexual assault is a serious crime, I would think a MURDER would have a larger priority. But then again, the
    murdered cabbie was just a poor working immigrant, not a rich college student. Is there a suspect in the cab-driver murder case? Where is the media follow-up? Has City Hall hushed the media on the cab driver murder because it shows that the outrageously-priced security cameras that they forced on the cabbies are
    ineffective in preventing cabbie robberies/murders?

  2. I wish we could help identify this animal. However because of the reformed industry, they have created a renter industry and we can’t get to know the new drivers before they relocate.

  3. It was my understanding that the reforms forced on the cab drivers by the city were supposed to provide solutions to just this type of problem. City Hall was warned about the exodus of experienced drivers that would follow. They effectively busted the self policing aspect of the taxi business, so it is time for the City to step up and provide their own enforcement.
    It’s also well past time for the city to stop micromanaging small business and instead focus on maintaining the strong fibers of our communities. Stop alienating musicians and music venues, cab drivers, French Market and second line vendors. Then you can count on the cab drivers knowing each other and being interested in helping you.

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