Taxi drivers concerned about safety



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Posted on June 15, 2013 at 10:35 PM

AUSTIN -- Any day of the week and anytime of the day, you'll find cabs parked at the Hilton Hotel at 5th and Trinity.

They're waiting on hotel guests most of whom are well-behaved business types.

But that isn't always the case when you drive a taxi.

"We have no protection other than calling the police if we have a problem," said Dan Osemene.

Fellow cab driver Abbas Yawoai agrees.

"How do you protect yourself? Nothing. Just God protecting us otherwise you have to call the cops," said Yawoai.

He tells KVUE News that he's experienced a drunk unruly passenger who started kicking the back of his seat and yelling racial slurs.

"I pulled over on 35 at the gas station, I said police officer, police Officer I have problem with this guy.  Police officer said, take it home," added Yawoai.

A city ordinance says cab drivers can only refuse to transport a person if: they are disorderly, engaged in unlawful conduct, has no ability to pay the fare or puts the safety of the driver or cab at risk.

Dustin Rowden is charged with injury to a disabled person for severely beating Akbar Amir-Akbari in 2011.

Attorneys say Rowden was kicked out of a bar for fighting and officers forced Akbar Amir-Akbari to take him home.

He's now suing the city and police

"In the shortest, horrifying time but it was the most, longest suffering that I experienced," says Amir-Akbari.

Because of the pending lawsuit, Austin police are not commenting on policies involving asking cab drivers to take drunk passengers.