Cab Drivers Call Out Police Over Unfair Enforcement

Cab Drivers United members in March met with Chicago Police Department representatives to complain about policing practices that cost drivers thousands of dollars in fines, put their licenses at risk and create hostility and distrust between drivers and law enforcement. Drivers took their concerns to CPD representatives from each downtown police district, and to two deputy chiefs responsible for police actions.

Chad Small, a veteran cab driver and Cab Drivers United member, told police officials he was subjected to racial slurs during a routine traffic stop and complained to the officer’s supervisor. “I raised the issue with his captain and instead of seeing justice for the racial slurs … I was written two tickets, one for unsafe driving and another for disobeying an officer,” he said.

“I tried to stand up for myself within the system as it’s currently set up, but when I’m alone, it’s just me against the entire Chicago Police Department,” Small told the police officials. “It’s one reason I’m involved with this union.”

Drivers spoke at length about the injustices they face on a daily basis. Whether it’s helping a passenger unload suitcases and being cited for “obstructing traffic,” or asking an officer why they were pulled over and ticketed for “discourteous conduct,” Cab Drivers United members outlined numerous examples of being targeted by CPD officers, and finding no justice fighting alone in the system.

“I never would have been able to sit here, across the table from CPD deputy chiefs had I written a letter by myself. We’re here today because we have the power of thousands of cab drivers joined together with Cab Drivers United/AFSCME,” continued Small.

Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 will follow up to focus on specific problems and recommend systematic changes to the Chicago Police Department's policies toward cab drivers.