A Bayside couple is suing the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) for $3 million, claiming that agents racially profiled them after they wrongfully busted the husband for being an illegal cab driver, according to published reports.
Dan Keys, 66, was driving his wife, Symone Palermo, 53, to her job at Bob’s Discount Furniture store in Flushing in May 2013 when the incident occurred, reports said.
TLC investigators reportedly pulled Keys over after he dropped off his wife in their Lincoln Town Car and accused of him of operating an illegal taxi. Palermo was sitting in the back of the vehicle because the front passenger seat was wet.
Keys tried to explain that the passenger was his wife, and when Palermo arrived to try to help, they were both issued summonses because the car is registered in her name, according to published reports. They also seized the vehicle.
The suit, filed in Queens Supreme Court, claims that Keys was only stopped because investigators “observed an African-American male driving what they thought to be a white female,” the New York Daily News reported.
The suit is also claiming that the city and TLC violates civil rights because they “instruct its employees to target and single out vehicles operated by minorities with white passengers, the Daily News said.
A judge dismissed the summonses, but the couple did not get their car back for eight days, when they won their case, according published reports.
The TLC declined to comment pending litigation, reports said.