It's so hard for black people to get a cab in this town that when they finally flag one, cops think they're robbing it. At least, that's one conclusion you could draw from Hot 97 / Kiss FM manager Terrence Battle, who was riding home to Bed-Stuy in a livery cab around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning when the NYPD pulled the car over. He says cops humiliated him outside his home for no other reason than because he's black, and claims they justified the search by pointing to a sticker on the car allowing police to stop the vehicle at any time to check on the driver's safety. Here's Battle's story, in his own words:

My name is Terrence Battle, a single father of two and broadcaster for Emmis Communications Corp living in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section in Brooklyn. On the early morning of October 30th, 2010 between 3:20 a.m. - 4:00 a.m. as a passenger in a cab, I was stopped, frisked and searched for no reason by Officer Facenda, Officer Reyes and Sergeant Miller of the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn. I had gotten into the cab after exiting the Broadway-Junction train station in Brooklyn. I gave the driver my address and we were on our way.

Once we pulled on the street where I live, I directed the driver to the left side of my block, (MacDougal Street) near the 3 family house where I live. As he pulled over and slowed down to stop, police lights suddenly flashed behind the car. I thought the driver may have done something, so I waited to see what was going on. Three plain clothed Officers approached the car, one walked to the driver side with flash light shinning into the front and back seat of the cab. He asked the driver was everything ok, he replied “yes” then the three officers flashed their flash light into the back seat where I was sitting and proceed to question me. I was asked to get out of the car. When I asked why, I was told that “this is just a routine check…nothing personal.” They said they needed to frisk me. Again I asked why when I was just a passenger in the cab and had not done any thing wrong. I added, “I live right here,” pointing to my house a few feet away.

The Officers said the cab had a police sticker on the window which gave them a right to stop and search anyone in the car and by riding in the cab I consented to such search. I was visibly upset but exercised restraint for fear of losing my life. The officers took my bag that I carry with me and began searching through it. I made protest but they continued the search citing the sticker on the window of the cab gave them the right to violate my rights and search me and my personal property with no probable cause. One officer asked where I was coming from, I replied “a night club”. Then they asked if I had identification, I replied, “Yes… do you?” as I gave one of the officers my driver’s license.

By this time I’m completely outraged but still fearful for my life and made no sudden movements that could later be justified as threatening. Then one of the officers’ took out a pad and began writing down the information from my license. I questioned why and was told it was procedure and necessary. Then they justified what they had done by saying “do you know how many murders we have in the eight - one?” I replied “no, but I am aware of the other things that go on in the eight- one”, referencing the 81st Precinct secret recordings pressing arrest and ticket quotas that was recently in the news.

The officers finally returned my i.d. and placed my bag on the rear hood of the cab, told me to read the sticker on the window of the cab as they walked away to return to their unmarked car. Then they drove away. I am writing this as my complaint against Officer Faceda, Officer Reyes and Sergeant Miller of the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn. I know there was absolutely no just cause or reason for the officers to force me out of the back seat of the taxi, frisk, search me and take down my information as if to warn me not to complain. I did nothing to deserve that treatment. I was completely horrified and humiliated by the actions of those police officers.

Here's more on this livery cab sticker; it's part of a program called TRIP, which started in 1994. Any owner of a registered medallion taxicab or licensed livery vehicle can register, and by joining the program the owner agrees that "the police may stop the aforementioned vehicle at any time in accordance with the Program's guidelines. In these instances, police action will include a brief inquiry of the driver and visual inspection of the vehicle."

The NYPD says officers pulled the car over because of the sticker and because the partition was open, which may have indicated a robbery in progress. Cops also say they were looking for a robbery suspect matching Battle's description. Asked why he thinks he was stopped, Battle tells us, "I believe the cops were just fishing... There was no just cause to search me. This is more of their policy to pick out random African American young males or 'Urban' males and find a reason to arrest and/or issue a ticket. I was violated."