In Brooklyn, N.Y., yesterday family members, taxi drivers and elected officials held a prayer vigil outside Kings County Hospital for taxi driver Key Chun Kim, 53, who remains in a coma after suffering a brutal assault by a passenger on New Year’s Day.
Taxi drivers are 30 times more likely to be killed on the job than other workers, says New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) Executive Director Bhairavi Desai. Since Kim’s beating, several other drivers have been assaulted.
We've seen the violence escalate and become a daily occurrence. We need the Taxi Driver Protection Act to send a message that will echo from the back of the taxi, to the streets, to police precincts and to DA's offices that drivers' lives matter.
The act would require assaults against drivers to be prosecuted as felonies and for a sign to be posted in all taxis warning against violence against drivers. Current law makes assaults against transit workers, nurses and sanitation workers a felony, but not taxi drivers.
The man charged with beating Kim was released on just a $10,000 bond. The Kim family, state assembly members and the NYTWA, are calling for the district attorney's office to take the case before the grand jury. Without a grand jury indictment of felony charges, the assailant only can be prosecuted on misdemeanors and violations.