MIDTOWN — A yellow taxi driver must pay $25,000 in fines and compensation for discriminating against a black family by refusing to pick them up but then letting two white passengers get into his ride, a city administrative judge ruled last week.
Cabbie Baqir Raza was hit with the penalty for telling Cynthia Jordan and her two daughters outside Macy’s in Midtown that he was off-duty when they tried to hail him, according to the judge’s decision.
Raza locked the doors to his cab, preventing the family from getting in, but then drove about 25 feet and picked up two white female passengers, the decision says.
Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Judge Raymond Kramer ruled that Raza must pay $10,000 in compensation to Jordan and a $15,000 civil fine.
“I’m happy for the judgment,” Jordan told DNAinfo New York. “Hopefully, someone will hear about this, and it will affect the way taxi drivers pick up fares in New York.”
Jordan, 57, a vice-president at a stock transfer firm, said that she and her family routinely face discrimination when hailing a cab.
“I’m always out with my young daughter trying to grab a cab,” she said. “There is nothing threatening about us and you should see how many people drive right past us.”
On Oct. 19, 2013, she and her two daughters had taken the LIRR from their Queens home to Manhattan to attend her brother-in-law’s birthday party.
After exiting Penn Station, they walked to 35th Street and Seventh Avenue to grab a cab near Macy’s.
Jordan’s daughter, Chiley Holder, spotted Raza pull his taxi over and allow a passenger to exit.
His on-duty roof light was on, but Raza locked the door when Holder tried to open it, according to the decision. He told her that he was taking a break and switched on his off-duty light.
Raza then drove 25 feet and picked up two white women, the decision says.
“Upon seeing what was transpiring, Ms. Jordan ran up to the cab and exclaimed, ‘Are you kidding me? You picked up these two … white bitches … instead of me and my family. I’m gonna report you,” Judge Kramer wrote in his decision.
Jordan said Raza wasn't fazed by her threat to call the city Taxi and Limousine Commission.
“He said, ‘Yeah, go ahead and report me,’” Jordan recalled.
At the urging of Holder, who works for the city’s 311 system, Jordan filed a complaint with TLC and the Human Rights Commission.
Raza paid a $200 fine to the TLC in November 2013 after pleading guilty to a violation for refusing to pick up Jordan.
However, the city’s Commission on Human Rights brought charges against Raza at the OATH hearing overseen by Judge Kramer.
The commission must still approve Kramer’s recommendation for the $25,000 in penalties.
Raza, who lives on Staten Island, declined to comment when contacted at home Thursday.
Jordan said she hopes the stiff fines will teach Raza a lesson.
“You don’t have impunity to do whatever you do,” she said.
“If you drive a cab, then drive a cab and pick up all fares. That’s what you're supposed to do.”