Chicago Police Department Pledges Concrete Action To Curb Abuses of Cab Drivers

In response to serious concerns over abuse policing practices Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 members brought forward, a high-ranking representative of the Chicago Police Department committed to taking action, issuing a “cease and desist” order to the officers identified by drivers and research as the most abusive in their interactions with cab drivers.

This past March, Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 members met with senior representatives of the Chicago Police Department to voice concerns about policing practices that specifically target cab drivers. These unfair practices are costing drivers thousands of dollars in fines, putting their licenses at risk and creating a hostile and distrustful environment between drivers and law enforcement.

Prior to the meeting with the Chicago Police Department representatives, Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request of the recorded traffic tickets issued to cab drivers which brought to light several disturbing statistics.

First, three officers were responsible for 23% of all tickets written to cab drivers in 2014, or about 1,500 tickets. 43% of all tickets written were by 10 officers in a workforce of over 300 officers. 

Many of the members in attendance at the meeting have found themselves on the wrong side of the officers in question, receiving in some cases upwards of 5 tickets at one time.

One driver spoke about a systemic problem within the Chicago Police Department where drivers’ pleas are not heard even when they reach out to the appropriate office for internal investigations. While another anecdote by a driver found him being ticketed by two different officers for illegally parking his cab in two distinct locations at the exact same time, further illustrating the immediate need for reform.

Second, and possibly most alarming, only 0.4% of those cab drivers receiving tickets by these three officers had European surnames, despite the fact that census data indicates 28% of Chicago cab drivers are native born Americans. The remaining 99.6% of those ticketed by the three officers had surnames indicating they were likely immigrants, mainly from Africa, the Middle-East and Asia.

Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 will continue to monitor the situation and hold the Chicago Police Department accountable for ensuring fair treatment for cab drivers.

If you are the target of unfair police treatment, especially if you are issued multiple tickets at the same time, please contact us at 312.641.6060 ext 4349.