After the fatal shooting of livery cab driver Trevor Bell earlier this month, New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers head Fernando Mateo urged drivers to racially profile their passengers. Now the union is introducing another tactic to protect drivers: bulletproof vests. Security USA donated 12 vests as part of a pilot program for drivers working after dark in dangerous neighborhoods, and the union is asking retired NYPD officers to donate their old vests.
There's no indication that drivers wouldn't continue (or start) to profile potential passengers, but Mateo said, "It's actually one more safety net, one more level of safety." Mayor Bloomberg reportedly said that the drivers have a right to wear the vests, but doesn't think they're necessary. The city is "corruption- and crime-free," remember? As for the drivers not in the chosen 12, they can just stick to picking up little old ladies.