Passenger in Center City Cab Attack Comes Forward

Stephanie Farr, Philly, January 30, 2012

The passenger of a taxi who was attacked at random by a group of teens in Center City this weekend has apparently come forward, writing about his experience today in The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Brian Goldman, a senior at Penn who says he was the passenger in the cab Saturday night, says he was punched through the open window of the cab, seemingly without provocation, and that there were as many as 15 teens in the offending group.

Police said yesterday that a cabbie and his passenger were attacked by a group of three teens at 15th and Chestnut streets around 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Center City. During the attack, according to police, three black teens—two 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old—shouted racial slurs at the white passenger.

The passenger ran off at some point and the cabbie was able to scare the teens away with a tire iron, police said. Luckily, officers were able to catch the three teens and have charged them as juveniles with aggravated assault and related offenses.

{snip}

Meanwhile, when I arrived to work today, my email inbox was filled with people who wanted to know if these three black teens would be charged with a hate crime. {snip}

I called police this morning to ask if there were any updates in the case and to see if the teens would be charged with a hate crime. Because the passenger hadn’t been identified, police said they could not charge the teens with a hate crime or with any crime against that passenger. They charged the kids with assaulting the driver.

Not once does Goldman mention race in his column. His ire is directed not toward the young offenders or their skin color but to the dozens of bystanders who witnessed the attack and did nothing.

“People got out of their cars to watch. The Wendy’s right across the street from us was filled with spectators eager to catch the bloody battle,” he wrote. “When I realized we were not going to receive help from the passersby, I did the only thing that seemed reasonable. I heeded the Forrest Gump adage and ran—towards 16th Street.”

{snip}

Brian Goldman

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