Brooklyn – Councilman David G. Greenfield and Senator Simcha Felder blasted the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) for the impoundment of a car driven by a Chesed Organization volunteer who was in the middle of giving two cancer-stricken patients a ride to the hospital. This morning, shortly after 8:30 a.m., the Chesed volunteer picked up two women headed for treatment in Manhattan hospitals and was quickly pulled over by a TLC police officer. Despite being told by the driver and the patients that the car was being used for volunteer purposes, the TLC officer ordered all three out of the car, issued the driver summonses and impounded his car, leaving the patients stranded on the side of the road. The TLC officer then allegedly lied on his summons claiming that the driver was illegally charging the women for the ride.
For years volunteers for Chesed Organization have been giving rides to those in need to hospitals and doctor’s appointments, providing a free and invaluable service and relief to those and their families battling illness. The TLC officer who impounded this volunteer’s car claimed he spoke with the passengers before entering the car who said they would be paying a fare for the trip, something anyone familiar with the work of Chesed knows is impossible. This lie only adds insult to the volunteer whose car was impounded, and to the dignity of the passengers simply seeking assistance to make it to their doctor’s appointments on time.
“Clearly this TLC officer had an agenda – to impound cars and collect fines and fees. This is truly a case of ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’ This kind of behavior by the Taxi & Limousine Commission is midas s’dom. It’s astonishing that any law enforcement official can be so callous as to leave two sick patients stranded on the way to the hospital. I am calling for a full investigation of this officer’s history and for the TLC to review the policies and procedures these officers must follow,” said Councilman David G. Greenfield, who demanded that the car be returned which it promptly was.
“It is an outrage that the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) treated an outstanding organization like Chesed with such malice and unfairness. Chesed was issued a summons and their car impounded while it was carrying out its mission transporting two Brooklyn women to separate hospitals. Despite the honest explanation by the volunteer driver that no money had been exchanged, the overzealous TLC agent proceeded with the unwarranted punishment. Our community knows unequivocally that Chesed provides their service free of charge, their drivers volunteer their own time and the service Chesed provides is incredibly beneficial to so many. I demand that the TLC dismisses the fine, returns the car and apologizes to Chesed,” said Senator Simcha Felder.
Recently the TLC has been targeting Borough Park motorists, stopping and impounding their vehicles if suspected of operating unlicensed car services. Under law motorists may not charge passengers for rides in private cars unless they are properly licensed by the TLC. The New York Daily News reported that these TLC officers, who carry no weapons but are authorized to make arrests, are under pressure from their management to stop motorists under even the slightest suspicion that they may be offering illegal rides, and in some shocking situations even fabricate evidence. Today’s incident only proves the TLC is cracking down on innocent New Yorkers. The Chesed volunteer was clearly within the law in providing free rides to his passengers in need.