Thursday, May 5, 2011

Taxi Driver Pleas For Help, Gets Double Violations Cited While Protesting. By John Han.

Taxis streaming down McAllister St. and honking horns around City Hall
in an organized demonstration to protest new MTA policies.   Photo
by John Han.
A San Francisco taxi driver was issued a ticket citing two violations during last Tuesday’s immense taxi demonstration at City Hall, mainly to protest 5% credit card fees.

Taxi Driver Syed Rahman of Pittsburgh, said he drove all the way from the Pittsburgh / Antioch area where he lives to take part in the protest on his day off.  What makes Rahman different from the rest of the hundreds of taxi drivers that day is that he drove in his own Ford Explorer SUV to the protest, circling City Hall in his own car, and honking with the rest of the taxi drivers. 

“As I was honking just like everybody else, a police officer… told me to pull over the car,” Rahman told Taxi TownSF. 

“I told him I am a cab driver.  If you don’t believe me I can show you my A-Card.  I am protesting here.”  Rahman says that after he had insisted to the policeman that he was a part of the protest, the officer said he was not a cab driver, pulled him over, placed his arms behind his head and searched him, asking if he was carrying a knife. 

“I said ‘why should I have any knife?’  Rahman continued.  “I don’t carry weapons.  He [the police officer] said, ‘you’re lucky I’m not going to take you to jail but I’m going to give you a citation.’”

According to Rahman, the officer said he did not accept that he was a cab driver. 

There are two violations cited on the officer’s ticket, according to Rahman.  One is a failure to yield violation.  The other is a use of horns.  

Rahman is a husband and a father of four children, and says there is no dollar amount for the two violations stated on the citation.  He says he is seeking support from the taxi industry and advice on how to contest the ticket, since the violations occurred while participating in an organized demonstration.   

To contact Mr. Rahman, please EMAIL HIM HERE.

Note:  The failure to yield violation cites VC Section 21806(a), and says…

21806.  Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle which is sounding a siren and which has at least one lighted lamp exhibiting red light that is visible, under normal atmospheric conditions, from a distance of 1,000 feet to the front of the vehicle, the surrounding traffic shall, except as otherwise directed by a traffic officer, do the following:
(a)   (1) Except as required under paragraph (2), the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway, clear of any intersection, and thereupon shall stop and remain stopped until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.”

The use of horns violation cites VC Section 27001 and says…

27001.  (a) The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn.
(b) The horn shall not otherwise be used, except as a theft alarm system which operates as specified in Article 13 (commencing with Section 28085) of this chapter.”


  1. I am amazed that during a peaceful protest that a police officer would pull over a vehicle using his horn to protest. I always though San Francisco was a town that supports peaceful demonstrations and freedom of speech. Mr Rahman need to fight this ticket. I would be very surprised if this officer will show up to a hearing to explain his overzealous actions to a judge.
    Did this officer violated Mr, Rahmans civil rights? Possible.

  2. IT seems very unfair and un just to single out Mr Rahman from all tha cab drivers while he was in part of a demonstration as a sf cab driver.
    He is being a subject of frofiling by a police officer.

  3. My advice to all cab drivers,now is the time to speak up your rights: not just to cab out and make money and follow the next day on till you turn grey,you serve community all day, specially during weekends people with under influence you take them home safe, you are the eye's of all incidence of the town to notify the law enforcement dept. The law enforcement should not treat cab driver as if, they are criminal, when it comes to that they are simply trying to speak up their rights on an organized demonstration.
    I think this incidence of double violation citation to Mr Rahman by a police officer is totally reflecting nothing but an unjust shadow towards entire cab driver industry.
    shame, shame.

  4. To the first anon poster regarding peaceful protests in SF: Google Dolores Huerta spleen to read how this 4'9 grandmother and vice president of the United farm workers union had her spleen obliterated by one of SF's finest during a peaceful protest at the St. Francis Hotel in1988. With any luck, the video of the moment will be available.
    I have joked with my passengers that if they were being stabbed in the neck and a motorcycle cop saw it, he wouldn't do anything about it, but if I pulled over and double parked to help, he'd have my car towed and me arrested.
    I, and many others, have video of the protest showing hundreds of cabs honking their horns. This driver is a cabby asserting his right of freedom of speech/expression, and by bringing his documents to court- A-Card- the judge will most likely drop the charges.
    Fellow drivers, do you realize that Transit Workers Union Local 250, MUNI operators union, has 2350 members, making it extremely powerful. That in 2009, 622 MUNI operators earned more than $80,000, including 82 who made over $100,000? That one operator earned $146,498 that year? They also get 7.5 contributed to their pension, plus health and dental.
    Cab drivers number over 7000. If we organized, we would be a legitimate force to be reckoned with.
    I began driving a cab in 1984 as a stop gap measure to tie me over until I got a REAL job. Many of you think the same thing: until I get something better. John Lennon sang, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." We have many divergent viewpoints among drivers, but we can agree that we need some respect and fair treatment from The City, the SFMTA, and the police. Public sentiment regarding the protest and issues underlying it seems mostly positive. Let's take this positive momentum and put it to work to improve our conditions.ORGANIZE! Standing together, we have strength; alone we fall like dominoes.

  5. The sfpd is engaging in "disparity in treatment" in regards to the issuing of traffic citations as well as depriving mr Raman his rights to protest (freedom of speech)
    Under the first amendment.


To report abusive comments, send email to this address: