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A Washington D.C. Council member said her daughter was briefly kidnapped by a taxi driver after the 26-year-old told the driver she planned to report him to the Taxicab Commission for operating without a functioning credit card machine.
Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said the incident “meets the definition of kidnapping” and was the “most outrageous” story she’s heard about drivers neglecting to comply with a new law that requires them to have working credit card machines in their vehicles.
“I’m just not sure we have a handle on how many drivers are cooperating,” Cheh said at a recent Taxicab Commission oversight hearing.
Commission Chairman Ron M. Linton said he believes the number of non-compliant drivers is being over-estimated, but he did concede that this isn’t the first time he’s heard “of that locking-the-door business.” Linton added that the driver in question should have been arrested.
The incident all began when Cheh’s daughter took a cab ride home one late November night. The 26-year-old reportedly tried to pay for the fare using two separate credit cards, but both were declined. Cheh told the driver she would go into her home to get cash, but she also mentioned that she planned to report him to the Taxicab Commission because his credit card machine “was not working properly.”
According to the police report, the driver then locked the doors, drove several blocks and dialed 911 to report that he had a passenger refusing to pay. Cheh’s daughter, who happens to be a lawyer, did not appreciate being taken for the extra ride, and she filed a police report claiming she had been “taken against her will.”
Police declined to press charges as they stated the whole ordeal could have been a misunderstanding.
Mel Welch, a criminal trial attorney in Minneapolis, said kidnapping charges carry strong penalties.
“Had this happened in Minnesota, the cabbie would be in a lot of trouble,” said Welch. “In Minnesota, kidnapping is an offense for which an individual when convicted must register under Minnesota Statute 243.166 as a predatory offender. Even being charged with kidnapping, but pleading guilty to a different crime – if for facts ‘arising out of the same set of circumstances’ – a person still will have to register as a predatory offender.”
Chris Sacca, one of the original investors in Uber, who Appelman Law Firm has partnered with in the past, Tweeted this out after hearing about Cheh’s daughter’s ordeal.
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) February 20, 2014
Related source: Washington Post