An Access-A-Ride driver caught on video yanking an elderly woman out of his cab and grasping her phone in Brooklyn deserves to lose his license, says a local cabbie union, which also called for criminal charges Thursday.
Catherine Shine, 78, was heading to a therapy appointment to treat vertigo when the terrifying ordeal unfolded, according to her son Thomas Shine.
Shine asked the driver, identified as Mohamed Ahmed Elsakran by the state Federation of Taxi Drivers, to drop her off in front of the doctor’s office, but he refused, taking her to the corner instead.
The two argued and Elsakran pulled Shine from the car by her leg on E. 34 St. near Avenue N in Marine Park around 3:15 p.m., said the son.
“She’s very traumatized and nervous about everything,” said Thomas Shine. “She’s very traumatized and she’s very scared.”
Ezra Halwani, 35, was passing by and spotted Shine as she laid on the pavement and tried to fend off the driver with her cane, video shows.
“I got involved and asked him what was going on,” Halwani told the Daily News. “She started screaming that he had her cell phone. He saw me recording him and his jaw dropped.”
“Call the police,” she begged of Halwani. “He robbed my phone!”
The driver handed over the phone, to which the perplexed man replied, “This is an old woman. Hello?”
“He gave me the cell phone very politely and gently as if he didn’t just throw a woman out of his car,” Halwani recalled.
The driver then got in his car and peeled out.
“He hit me,” Halwani said. “I ended up on his hood and on the ground. I got up pretty quickly and checked on the woman.”
“I’m a 78-year-old lady and he threw me out of the cab,” the distressed woman said as she sat on the ground. “He took my money, he took my phone.”
The witness and a man passing by on a bike stayed with Shine until police arrived.
Both the woman and Halwani were treated at a local hospital and released.
“She’s very thankful that the good Samaritan helped her out,” Thomas Shine said of his mother.
The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, the 21,000-member union that backs professional drivers across the city, condemned the horrifying incident.
“The video is brutal and shows no compassion or respect for the elderly,” union head Fernando Mateo said in a statement. “Mohamed’s actions will not be tolerated, there is NOTHING that can justify throwing an elderly women out of a car and into the street.”
He called for the revocation of Elsakran’s driving privileges. The driver could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Mohamed’s actions are criminal in nature and should be prosecuted if the [district attorney] deems it necessary,” he said.
Shine remains apprehensive about getting in another cab.
“She’s worried the guy’s still not arrested yet,” her son said.
Police are still searching for the driver.