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Bratton meets with taxi drivers group after shootings

Livery cab activist Fernando Matteo (2nd from Left)

Livery cab activist Fernando Matteo (2nd from Left) leaves One Police Plaza following a meeting with NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton about the recent string of livery cab drivers shootings, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Photo Credit: Bryan Smith

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton met with the New York Federation of Taxi Drivers Wednesday, a day after a second livery cab driver in a week was shot and killed.

Both cab drivers were both gunned down on a Tuesday in the Bronx, police said. But the similarities between the two shootings are very telling, said Fernando Mateo, a spokesman for the taxi drivers group.

In his meeting with Bratton Wednesday, Mateo requested several ideas to protect drivers, including: installing a different kind of emergency light for cabs; and having police officers go undercover as livery cab drivers. He criminals are less likely to target drivers if they don't know who is behind the wheel.

"(Bratton) was extremely helpful in that he said to us, 'don't worry, we're going to get on this,'" Mateo said at a news conference outside of police headquarters.

"I mentioned to him that we felt that after stop and frisk ended that we saw a spike in assaults, robberies, shootings and murders of drivers," Mateo said, adding that he would be interested in a replacement to stop and frisk that does not racially profile New Yorkers. "He didn't quite feel the same way because he's looking at it from a different perspective.

The NYPD could not confirm what was discussed during the meeting.

On Tuesday, a 61-year-old livery cab driver was fatally shot in the head and dragged from his car in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx, police said. His name was being withheld pending family notification.

Several unidentified suspects shot the driver before taking his cab from Bryant Avenue at about 6 a.m.

Surveillance video released by police shows at least four people running down the street and away from several parked cars. The car was later discovered about two miles away on Bolton Avenue in Soundview, police said.

Last week, another Bronx livery cab driver was fatally shot in the head and his cab stolen on Hunter Avenue in the Eastchester area, police said. On Aug. 5, Maudo Kane, 49, was dragged from the cab at about 5:30 a.m. before it was stolen.

The car was found about six hours later and nearly seven miles away on St Anns Avenue, police said.

Mateo also called on police officers to crack down on livery cab drivers who pick up illegal hails, believing that to be a dangerous practice. Only yellow or green cabs are allowed to pick up a street hail.

On Friday, a third livery cab driver was robbed and beaten after picking up two unknown suspects on West 112th street, police said. The two men stole $350 from the 44-year-old driver and beat him at about 3:30 p.m. before jumping out and running away.

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