Orlando police to taxi drivers: just give thieves the money

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In light of the January murders of Orlando taxi drivers Nelvil Joseph and Matt Manolas, the Orlando Police Department today hosted a presentation on what taxi drivers should do in the event of being robbed. Here’s forty-five minutes in a nutshell: don’t resist. Money is just money.

Or, as Lt. Rich Ring likes to say, “don’t buck the jack.”

Around 30 people were in the headquarters of OPD's first floor auditorium downtown--though maybe half were taxi drivers—for the presentation, which, like most police presentations, was fairly patronizing. “I bet you Matt and Nelvil are up in heaven, saying, ‘You know what? I’d rather be down there with those guys right now,” said Ring.

According to Ring, the likely reason Joseph and Manolas died was that they resisted their robberies.

Officer Evan Cantrall shared some statistics from the report "606 Taxicab Driver Homicides, United States and Canada, 1980-1994" by Charles Rathbone. According to the report,

  • 94% of the attacks occur when the driver is inside the cab.
  • 85% of the fatal injuries are gunshot wounds.
  • 82% of the assaults occur at night.
  • 74% of the deaths are due to head and neck injuries.
  • 64% of the deaths are from gunshots to the head.
  • 66% of the assailants are under age twenty.

To that last bullet point, Officer Cantrall indicated that taxi drivers, like police officers, should “check their ego at the door.”

Also, Cantrall said that if a suspicious passenger asks about the proceedings of the day, drivers should invariably reply that business is slow. “’Busy’ means to a bad guy: you probably have money,” Cantrall says.

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