Was DC council member's daughter 'kidnapped' by cab driver? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Was DC council member's daughter 'kidnapped' by cab driver?

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D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh

There are 6,500 licensed taxicabs in the District of Columbia, and as of October 1, all of them are required to accept credit cards as payment for transportation. That happens most of the time, according to a stealth study commissioned by the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

But D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh disclosed (at a Wednesday hearing) a horror story involving her adult daughter, who had hailed a cab in Adams Morgan in the middle of the night in November. After a drive to her destination in upper Northwest, the councilmember’s daughter says she gave the cabbie not one, but two credit cards. Both failed in his reader and the driver demanded cash.

Councilmember Cheh related the remainder of the story at an oversight hearing on Wednesday: "[My daughter] said, 'Well, you know what, I'm going to go into my house now, and get you the cash. But I'm going to report you to the Taxicab Commission.' Whereupon this driver locked all of the doors, drove many blocks away, and called the police saying he had a fare that was refusing to pay."

Cheh says her daughter immediately protested the involuntary detainment and unasked-for extra trip.

Ron Linton, the Chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission, told us: "A driver has no authority and no right, and cannot detain a passenger unless it's, according to the District criminal code, [it's] a crime [has been] committed in his presence."

Cheh, a law professor, thinks the crime was committed -- by the cab driver.

"I know the law a little bit," Cheh told us in an interview. "And I know the definition of kidnapping. If you transport someone from one point to another point (against his or her will), that amounts to kidnapping. A charge should have been brought against the guy."

D.C. police officers who responded to the incident refused to press any charges. When we asked "why not?", department spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump told us the incident "did not meet the elements of a crime."

Councilmember Cheh's daughter never filed a complaint against the driver. The chairman of the cab commission says without a complaint, that body can neither investigate nor discipline the taxi driver.

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