Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wikipedia edit

I'm waiting to see what Wikipedia thinks of my edit.
I added the part that starts with "NYC Doctors".
Crash test[edit source]
As of 2012, New York taxis are only crash-tested before being equipped as a cab. However, the new "Taxi of Tomorrow", the Nissan NV200, would also have its partition be crash-tested while installed inside the vehicle.[90]

Several NYC Doctors presented a video to the TLC concerning taxis' interior partitions' occupant interior protection safety. (See Wikipedia "rough ride" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rough_ride_(police_brutality)). Taxi partition designs utilized are not certified to be in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards, much like police cruiser partitions. The risk of injury from uncertified, noncomplying interior partitions in taxis is expected to decline, now that cab owners have the option of (more expensive) camera security as an alternative to installing a partition in order to pass the TLC inspection. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxicabs_of_New_York_City#Crash_test

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wikipedia knows about it

Not all occupants of police cruisers are criminals, yet all occupants regularly are killed, mutilated or paralyzed by illegal equipment. 
This "rough ride' practice is a nationwide, cowardly, vicious, felony committed by law enforcement officers, easily and fairly characterized as institutionalized
nationwide police brutality. It can only happen where retro-fitters or as the USDOT calls them 'alterers', modify once-legal, safe automobiles by installing roll bar type partitions in police cruisers or any partition found in a taxi, and so have thusly violated many basic USDOT legal requirements. These cruiser partitions have a long history of killing and injuring officers.
USDOT, State attorney generals and numerous other bureaucrats have rebuked any attempt of mine to correct these violations for forty years. Now I discover that this was written about extensively two years ago in Wikipedia under "rough ride". The USDOT said they have never seen any evidence that partitions are a problem. That has got to be a lie, or they are blind.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stop police abuse now Yahoo Group

Link to article.


From: poosakey@...
Reply-To: poosakey@...
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 08:43:16 -0700
To: IPPN Discuss
Subject: [IPPN]  7-27-1 = PI; Battered cargo: The costs of the police 'nickel ride'

Sunday, June 3, 2001 


Battered cargo: The costs of the police 'nickel ride' 



By Nancy Phillips and Rose Ciotta 
INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS 
1955340749.jpgGino Thompson stepped into the police van an able-bodied man.

He emerged paralyzed from the waist down.

Thompson had been arrested outside a North Philadelphia convenience store after a drunken argument with a girlfriend over a set of keys. Police put him in the back of a patrol wagon, his hands cuffed behind his back.

The low, narrow benches had no seat belts. The bare, hard walls had no padding. As the wagon headed south on Broad Street, toward the 22d District police station, the driver accelerated - "like they were going to a fire or something," Thompson said.

Then the wagon came to a screeching stop, Thompson and one of the officers recalled.

Thompson was launched headfirst into a partition and suffered a devastating spinal-cord injury.

"They took me right out of the store and into the wagon, and that's the last I walked," said Thompson, father of 11 children. "That wagon changed my whole life."

Thompson was a victim of a secretive ritual in Philadelphia policing: the wild wagon ride, with sudden starts, stops and turns that send handcuffed suspects hurtling into the walls.

Top commanders acknowledge that rough rides are an enduring tradition in the department. The practice even has a name - "nickel ride," a term that harks back to the days when amusement-park rides cost 5 cents.

An Inquirer investigation documented injuries to 20 people tossed around in wagons in recent years. Thompson was one of three who suffered spinal injuries, and one of two permanently paralyzed.

Most of the victims had clean records. They were arrested on minor charges after talking back to or arguing with police. Typically, the charges were later dismissed.

Those wagon injuries have cost taxpayers more than $2.3 million in legal settlements, but the Police Department has responded to the problem with a conspicuous lack of urgency.

No Philadelphia police officer has ever been disciplined for subjecting a passenger to a wild ride. A four-year-old plan to make the wagons safer has moved at a crawl - until now.

Those injured in wagons are of widely varying backgrounds and were arrested in different parts of the city. Yet they described their experiences in strikingly similar terms.

They spoke of roaring starts, jarring stops and other maneuvers that sent them rolling across the floor or slamming into walls. With their hands cuffed behind the back, they could not right themselves or cushion the falls.

The injured include:

A disabled postal worker who had argued with a police officer over access to a parking lot. She aggravated a hip injury rolling across the floor of a wagon.

A pastor who saw police subduing a suspect and complained that they were hurting him. She was arrested and loaded into a wagon, where she fell to the floor during a swerving, bumpy ride.

A fish merchant arrested after arguing with a Parking Authority worker over a ticket. He was thrown from a wagon bench and broke his tailbone.

Thompson, 40, has relied on a wheelchair since that night in April 1994. The city paid $600,000 to settle his lawsuit.

But his was not the worst injury in a Philadelphia police wagon.

Calvin Saunders, arrested in South Philadelphia in 1997 driving a stolen car, was propelled from his seat in the back of a police van and rammed his head against a wall.

He ended up a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. To this day, Saunders cannot feed, bathe or dress himself and depends on others for his most basic needs. The city paid him a $1.2 million settlement to help cover his lifetime medical care.

There is no official tally of wagon injuries, no way to know exactly how many people have been hurt.

The 20 cases documented by The Inquirer were culled from court files and records of city legal settlements. They likely represent a fraction of all wagon injuries - those in which the victims hire lawyers and win financial compensation.

Some cities - responding to injuries far less serious than those documented here - have phased out wagons or added safety restraints and padding.

Philadelphia officials have studied the latter idea for years, but not until December did new wagons with seat belts and padding hit the street.

Only 10 of the department's 86 wagons have those safety features. The rest, which transport tens of thousands of suspects every year, are identical to those in which Thompson and Saunders suffered their paralyzing injuries.

Police Commissioner John F. Timoney said he knew of the injury to Saunders but was not aware that officers intentionally subjected prisoners to jolting wagon rides.

"Such behavior - if it does exist - certainly isn't condoned by myself or anybody else in this department," Timoney said.

He added: "We are making efforts, as much as humanly possible, to reduce . . . the number of incidents where prisoners get hurt in the back of these vans."

Timoney's top deputies say that wild wagon rides are mainly a thing of the past.

"We've had some where the person goes flying and hits their head," said Deputy Police Commissioner John J. Norris, head of the Internal Affairs Bureau. "They get taken for a ride."

Norris, a 30-year veteran of the force, said such abuses had diminished greatly and were now "minuscule" in number.

Yet many wagon injuries go undetected by Internal Affairs - even some that resulted in legal settlements.

Of the 20 cases documented by The Inquirer, 11 were never investigated by the Police Department. Norris said he was not aware of the injuries until reporters asked about them.

Of the nine cases that were scrutinized by Internal Affairs, the department took disciplinary action against the wagon officers in only one - the Thompson case - and then for infractions committed after the wagon ride, not for the injury itself.

The punishment: a three-day suspension for the driver, Officer Demetrius Beasley.

A year later, Beasley was promoted to sergeant.

Injury resembles a diving accident 

Police wagons - white Ford cargo vans with two-person crews - are ubiquitous on Philadelphia streets. They patrol neighborhoods and also serve as the department's transport arm, ferrying suspects to district police stations or Police Headquarters for booking.

Police like the wagons because suspects ride in a rear compartment, with a wall separating them from the officers in front. That is considered safer than transporting prisoners in squad cars, which typically are staffed by just one officer.

Wagons are considered especially useful in dealing with combative prisoners or with disturbances that could require numerous arrests.

The passenger compartment is a hard, spare, windowless space - a shell of fiberglass and plastic about 4 feet high, 51/2 feet wide and 14 feet deep. The sides are lined with low benches barely wide enough to sit on.

Police commanders say the department purposely did not install seat belts in the older models so that prisoners could not harm themselves with the straps.

Riding in the darkened back, handcuffed passengers have trouble steadying themselves or balancing on the narrow benches.

The practice of cuffing suspects' hands behind the back creates a heightened risk of spinal injury, as Internal Affairs acknowledged in its report on the Calvin Saunders case.

A physician told investigators that Saunders' injury resembled those caused by diving accidents. In such cases, the doctor said, the victim hits a hard surface headfirst, with the head tilted slightly forward.

"This is the natural position of the body when the arms are handcuffed behind the back," the Internal Affairs report said.

The department says its officers are trained to drive wagons with care and that most do.

Officer Paul Costello, who drives a wagon in Center City's Ninth Police District, said he was aware of the risks to passengers and took pains to avoid injuries.

"If somebody gets hurt in the back of that wagon, you have to deal with the consequences," Costello said.

But an officer with a different attitude can turn a wagon ride into a frightening and dangerous experience.

John DeVivo says it happened to him.

On March 31, 1995, he was behind the counter at Ocean City Seafood, his family's fish market on Lancaster Avenue near 41st Street, when he noticed a Parking Authority worker ticketing his wife's car.

An argument ensued. The parking-enforcement officer called police and accused DeVivo of throwing bottles at her. He denied it.

He was arrested, handcuffed, and taken by wagon to the Southwest Detective Division.

"We went two blocks, and they slammed on the brakes," said DeVivo, now 36.

He was thrown from the seat and landed on the floor, fracturing his tailbone, medical records show.

DeVivo, who had no criminal record, sued and collected $11,000. As in all the legal settlements, the city did not admit police wrongdoing. The assault charges against DeVivo were later dismissed.

When the ride was over, DeVivo said, he asked the wagon officers why it had been so rough. He said they told him a dog ran in front of the wagon.

"They were laughing," he said.

Robert Schwartz Sr. broke one of the vertebrae in his neck during a wagon ride. His spinal cord was not damaged, but he said he still suffers pain and discomfort.

Schwartz was arrested April 15, 1998, at Unruh and Bustleton Avenues on a charge of drunken driving - to which he later pleaded guilty.

Officers put him in a wagon and headed south on Interstate 95, toward Police Headquarters in Center City.

"All of a sudden, the brakes were applied very sharp," Schwartz said in a statement to Internal Affairs investigators. "Since I wasn't strapped in or anything, I fell to the floor onto my back."

Schwartz, 44, said he was "propelled forward very quickly" and smashed his head into a wall.

"I heard a loud snap," he said. "I knew something happened."

Officer Thomas A. Walker Jr., the wagon driver, said in an interview that he made no abrupt stops and had no idea how Schwartz was injured.

The city nonetheless paid Schwartz $110,000 as settlement.

"There is no dispute that the plaintiff suffered a neck injury," a deputy city solicitor wrote in an internal memo obtained by The Inquirer. "A Philadelphia jury could return a very large negligence verdict against police officers based on their alleged driving."

The rough ride shocks suspects 

Bernadette Moore was stunned to find herself in the darkened back of a patrol wagon, lying handcuffed on the floor.

Moore, a postal worker from Southwest Philadelphia, had quarreled with a police officer on the night of Sept. 29, 1996.

He had blocked access to the parking lot of a strip mall at 61st Street and Passyunk Avenue as part of a crackdown on drag racing.

Moore, 34, wanted to drive into the lot to bring dinner to her boyfriend, who worked nearby.

She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was later dismissed and a city lawyer wrote that the rookie officer "overreacted."

But that was of no help to Moore that night. She was handcuffed, and a patrol wagon was summoned.

Moore, who suffers from degenerative arthritis and had had a hip replacement, had trouble getting into the vehicle. So two officers picked her up and put her inside on the floor.

Moore described the ride to the 12th District police station as terrifying.

"They started swerving and slamming on the brakes, and I started flipping all over - and I'm handcuffed," she said. "I was petrified. . . . I couldn't believe it was happening."

Moore, who injured her shoulder and back, collected a $15,000 settlement.

The Rev. Carlice Harris got acquainted with Philadelphia police wagons Feb. 21, 1999. It was a Sunday morning, and she was on her way to church.

Miss Harris, who lives in Edgewater Park, was driving through North Philadelphia, headed for Christ Temple Baptist Church at 16th Street and Girard Avenue, where her congregation was waiting for her to deliver the morning sermon.

She never made it to the pulpit.

In the 5200 block of Montour Street, Miss Harris saw four police officers struggling to subdue a suspect. She said a plainclothes officer kicked the man while the others held him down.

She jumped out of her car and demanded the officer's badge number. Police arrested her. They said later that she was interfering with the arrest and drawing a crowd.

Wearing a mink coat and high heels, Miss Harris was handcuffed, put in a patrol wagon, and taken to the 15th District police station.

"I ended up sliding all over the place," she said. "It was a very rough ride - bumpy, up, up and down hills. They seemed to be just rushing, and I wasn't no murderer."

Miss Harris, 44, injured her face, knee and wrists. She later received a $22,500 settlement from the city. The disorderly conduct charge against her was dismissed.

"I didn't look like a derelict. I'm a pastor," she said. "I thought, 'I can't believe this is happening in America.' "

Rookies learn the ritual during 'street training' 

The "nickel ride" has been around for decades, winked at by generations of police commanders and commissioners.

Rookies learn about it as "part of your street training," said Norman A. Carter Jr., a retired Philadelphia police corporal whose 25 years on the force included a six-month stint as a wagon officer.

When the arresting officers wanted to punish someone in custody, Carter said, they would tell the wagon crew to "take him for a ride."

The practice persists, current and former officers say, because it is a nearly foolproof way to get back at someone who resists arrest or otherwise angers police.

Officers out to settle a score need not use their fists.

Because there usually are no witnesses, injuries can be attributed to busy traffic, bad roads, or a sudden stop made to avoid a cat or dog.

A nickel ride is a way for officers to assert their authority when someone challenges it, said James B. Jordan, a lawyer who reviewed numerous wagon injuries as the Police Department's in-house corruption monitor from 1996 through 1999.

"What better way to show who's in control than stopping at a light and slamming on the brakes, knowing that they're going to go flying?" Jordan asked. "And maybe the prisoner was yelling, and maybe this will shut him up."

Chief Inspector Frank M. Pryor, head of the department's patrol operations, said rough rides were once a common method of punishing recalcitrant prisoners.

In the 1970s, he said, the police ranks included wagon officers who were eager to lash out at uncooperative suspects.

"If you pissed them off," he said, "you were going to get the ride of your life . . . and nobody did anything about it."

But Pryor said such behavior was no longer tolerated.

"If we see that happen, we're on it now."

Police hold no one accountable for injury 

Gino Thompson remembers that it was dark in the back of Emergency Patrol Wagon 2202.

Police had arrested him about 1:40 a.m. on April 10, 1994, at the A-Plus Mini Market at Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue.

Thompson has a record of petty offenses, but he was not charged with a crime that night. Police records state he was taken into custody because of "intoxication."

The wagon headed for the 22d District police station, about a mile away.

"They rolled down Broad Street . . . and they slammed on the brakes, and I slid from the back all the way up to the front," Thompson said in an interview. "When I hit my head, I saw a flash of bright light, and I couldn't feel my hands anymore.

"As soon as my head hit the wall, boom, I heard them laughing."

An Internal Affairs report and a summary of the case by city lawyers describe what happened next:

When the wagon arrived at the police station, the driver, Demetrius Beasley, told Thompson to stand up.

"I can't walk," Thompson replied.

Beasley and his partner, Kevin Powell, dragged Thompson out of the wagon and put him in a holding cell, facedown on the floor.

He lay there, sleeping, for more than an hour, without medical attention. Then, an attendant heard him shouting: "Officer, officer, I'm hurt!" and complaining that he had no feeling in his legs.

An ambulance was summoned.

At Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, doctors determined that Thompson had dislocated two vertebrae at the base of his neck, injuring his spinal cord.

Questioned months later by Internal Affairs, Beasley said he drove the wagon safely, never exceeding 20 mph, and made no abrupt stops.

Powell had been dismissed from the force by then. A woman had accused him of rape - a charge of which he was later acquitted. Powell declined to talk to Internal Affairs about the Thompson case.

Beasley was sanctioned for "neglect of duty" - for failing to get medical attention for Thompson as soon he complained of paralysis. Beasley was suspended for three days.

But no one was held accountable for causing Thompson's injury. Internal Affairs investigators wrote that they "could not prove or disprove that the wagon came to a sudden stop."

Months later, after Thompson sued, the City Solicitor's Office did its own investigation and reached a different conclusion.

The city lawyers interviewed Powell, now a defendant in a lawsuit and depending on the city to represent him.

Powell told the lawyers that Beasley speeded down Broad Street that night and then slammed on the brakes, just as Thompson had described.

Beasley and Powell declined to be interviewed for this article.

An internal memo from a lawyer in the City Solicitor's Office explained why the city paid $600,000 to settle Thompson's lawsuit:

"The plaintiff is likely to be able to prove that the officers gave him a 'nickel ride' of exactly the kind that he described."

The damage inflicted can last a lifetime 

Today, Thompson relies on a wheelchair to get around his tiny Northeast Philadelphia home. He spends much of the day on the living-room sofa, where the television offers a welcome distraction from lingering pain.

After nine operations, he said, he still suffers pain in his right arm and neck.

Thompson once did odd jobs. Now, the family depends on the income of his wife, Shelby, a nursing-home aide.

On good days, Thompson is able to maneuver himself into a specially equipped van and drive her to work.

"That [police] wagon changed a lot," said Thompson, whose 11 children range in age from 5 to 19. "I can't play football with my kids. I can't play basketball. I was a gymnast, a singer, a dancer. I did it all."

Thompson said he was still angry at Beasley. He was furious to learn of the officer's punishment.

"You think a three-day suspension is justifiable for what he did?" he asked. "That isn't even a slap on the wrists."

Thompson said he was saddened to learn that wagon injuries had continued.

"I wish it wouldn't happen to the next person," he said. "I wouldn't wish it on a rat." 

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

St Francis quote

"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." - Saint Francis of Assisi

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Associated Press - WASHINGTON - Three quarters of a million infant car seats are being recalled for repair because of a potentially fatal flaw, the government announced. When used as an infant carrier, the handle of these Kolcraft car seats made by Kolcraft Enterprises unexpectedly change position, causing the seat to rotate and the baby to fall to the ground. At least one infant has suffered a skull fracture, and two have suffered concussions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 42 infants have been injured as a result of this defect. There have been more than 3,000 reports of handle-related problems with the product.

"Three quarters of a million infant car seats are being recalled for repair because of a potentially fatal flaw " because of one skull fracture, two concussions, 42 injuries and 3,000 handle-related problems?
because of a potentially fatal flaw ? How does this compare to taxi and cruiser partition flaws killing 70+ police officers, mutilating scores of taxi occupants and probably just as many prisoners in the rear seats of cruisers?
Is there some reason we tolerate dead cops and mutilated rear seat taxi and cruiser occupants, yet have no stomach for a baby bumping its' head?
Is it because we secretly don't mind when prisoners get hurt?
Is it because we secretly believe the BLM movement is valid, when we tolerate preventable loss of troopers' lives?

Or

Is it because we don't care about paying injured prisoners eight figure cash settlements?
Could it be because the usual purveyor of cruiser partitions has such a long and friendly relationship with police agencies? The solidarity of the relationship between the main supplier, Setina Corporation, and police agencies across the nation...  is hinted at, in a Setina letter. 
"During our many years designing and manufacturing police vehicle equipment, we have done much research to see if there was any federal regulation that might pertain to our products. We have found that our equipment is considered an "after-market" product" that has no federal regulations." - Judy Setina

However, our federal government said;

Do our (USDOT) safety standards apply to auxiliary interior equipment installed in motor vehicles? The answer is yes. The NHTSA authorizes this agency to issue safety standards for equipment (S103), prohibits the sale or manufacture of equipment which does not meet those standards (S108(a)(1)(A)), establishes civil penalties for non-complying equipment (S109(a)), and requires manufacturers to recall and remedy any non-compliances (S154(a)). (paraphrased)


(Exact quote)
In addition, the Act requires certification of compliance with applicable safety standards (S114). This requirement applies to manufacturers of equipment, with regard to those items of equipment, and to vehicle manufacturers with regard to the entire vehicle. Thus, if auxiliary interior equipment is installed in a vehicle prior to first sale, the automobile equipment manufacturer must certify compliance with any safety standards applicable to the item of equipment, and the vehicle manufacturer must certify that the entire vehicle (including items of equipment) complies  with all applicable safety standards.”

“You first asked whether our safety standards apply to auxiliary interior equipment installed in motor vehicles. The answer is yes. The NHTSA authorizes this agency to issue safety standards for new motor vehicles and equipment (S103), prohibits the sale or manufacture of new vehicles and equipment which do not meet those standards (S108(a)(1)(A)), establishes civil penalties for non-complying vehicles and equipment (S109(a)), and requires manufacturers to recall and remedy any non-compliances (S154(a)).
In addition, the Act requires certification of compliance with applicable safety standards (S114). This requirement applies to manufacturers of equipment, with regard to those items of equipment, and to vehicle manufacturers with regard to the entire vehicle. Thus, if auxiliary interior equipment is installed in a vehicle prior to first sale, the automobile equipment manufacturer must certify compliance with any safety standards applicable to the item of equipment, and the vehicle manufacturer must certify that the entire vehicle (including items of equipment) complies  with all applicable safety standards.”

Jeffrey R. Miller

Chief Counsel USDOT 1985

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Baltimore "rough rides"... not a very common practice?

Baltimore Sun article (entire article)

Natalie Finegar, the deputy public defender for Baltimore City, said she does not believe rough rides are a common practice in Baltimore — or she would have heard about it.

Key, the former city police officer who is now a consultant, said another term for the practice was "bringing them up front." By slamming on the brakes, detainees would bump against the cage behind the driver's seat.

"If it's done on purpose, it's a criminal act and violates regulations," said Key, who is not involved in Gray's case. If a detainee is injured in a ride due to some action by the driver, the incident must be reported, he added.

University of South Carolina professor Geoffrey Alpert, an expert in police force, said rough rides are also known as "screen tests." When police cars or vans had screens between the front and back seats, drivers would stop short — "to avoid a dog" — sending a handcuffed prisoner flying face-first into the screen, he said.

"Cops used to laugh about it.
That was big in the 1980s and 1990s," Alpert said. "It was obviously against policy and illegal. I remember in some trainings that police chiefs would say, 'You'd better bring the damn dog you were trying to avoid if you come in with a prisoner with such an injury.'"

Alpert added, "Now a lot of these vans and cars have videos in them. So it doesn't happen very often."

Where is the footage of these RARE events?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Reply to USDOT Chief Counsel O. Kevin Vincent - never answered

Steve Crowell
P.O. Box 303
Eastham, MA 02642

USDOT NHTSA Chief Counsel – O.Kevin Vincent
1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Mr. Vincent,

            First, I thank you for taking the time to respond to my October letter on January 11th, this year. Allow me to submit the following perspectives and data.
“Security” partition may be a misnomer.
Partitions installed in taxis (to reduce murders) have had a miserable failure rate. Every cab driver killed in Boston since 1970 HAD a partition in the cab. More drivers get shot now, with partitions.
Although this aspect is not a DOT issue, I offer the “1997 Baltimore report From NCSU’s urban studies professor Dr. John Randolph Stone, which says; “One of the most intuitively effective, yet controversial countermeasures is a taxi partition or shield.”

“Intuitively effective”? What does this mean? “We think it works, so let’s assume it does.”?
Dr. Stone supports taxi regulators who overstate the objective of taxi partition use. He also says; “This study makes one implicit assumption… it is assumed that assaults on taxi drivers are a proxy measure of taxi driver homicides. Thus, if shields reduce assaults then it can be assumed that they will reduce homicides.”  
You have no need to pay attention to his data which shows a 300% increase in cab driver murders. If… partitions are viable, or not, for murder rate reductions… is not a question your office would deal with. Your office would only deal with compliance issues, and performance issues in crashes, not assaults.
Regarding paragraph four; I only request that the agency do… as required by congressional directive. In order to reduce the frequency and severity of injury and the frequency of death, your agency should make it clear that partitions, IF USED, must be built and installed in compliance with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Currently none are certified, and none comply. Regarding the merits of using a partition; you mention a trade off of safety in the absence of a partition. A previous USDOT letter (from Armstrong) mentioned a trade off of safety using a partition.
“Trading off safety” with a partition is illegal and cited in the original letter of warning in 1984.
Trading off safety by not using a partition is not your concern. There are no federal standards regarding operator retention of control, nor are there any regarding assaults on operators. Just what partitions may, or may not be viable for… is none of your business. If taxi regulators are telling the truth about assault prevention, or not… should not be up for discussion with USDOT personnel. Your job is to be sure partitions comply. Trading off safety by using an illegal partition is your concern. Any so-called trade-off of safety from assailants, from ‘not using a partition’ should not concern you.

I thank you for the information about FMVSS 226. Reading it cleared up my confusion about the ‘airbag/partition intrusion zone conflict’ question. If there are other standards that mention partitions, please let me know.
Do I understand correctly that because FMVSS no. 226 excludes partitioned vehicles, that Mr. Reid was correct when he said cabs and cruisers are exempt from all FMVSS’s? The confusion persists.

That partitions are built, offered for sale, sold or installed in violation of FMVSS’s, is your concern. Even if no injuries resulted, the law should be enforced anyway. Unfortunately, many deaths and injuries do occur. So many so, that NYC trauma surgeons were alarmed enough to conduct two studies.

Dr.  Talmor, Dr. Barie, Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Hoffman, Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, NY. In 1996 four surgeons from the Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell
Medical Center released a report, this is a review of it.

 “Craniofacial injuries resulting from taxicab accidents in New York City

 Taxicab accidents are a common occurrence in New York City. This review was undertaken to characterize the nature of craniofacial injuries that result from taxicab accidents.
 Data were collected on 16 patients who required admission to trauma or plastic and reconstructive surgery services, after sustaining craniofacial injury as a result of a taxicab accidents. 
 Front-end deceleration collisions were the most common mechanism of injury. 
 Fifty-six percent of the patients were thrown against the bulletproof, Plexiglas driver safety divider and sustained an injury most commonly to the anterior midface. 
 Both bony and soft tissue injuries were common in the entire group. 
“Given the high incidence of craniofacial injury, appropriate safety standards for taxicabs must be initiated, including the reevaluation of the utility of the safety divider”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8722975

Another group also studied this matter.

Dr. Arnold Komisar,  Dr. Stanley Blaugrund and Dr. Martin Camins - Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC - "Every emergency room in New York is seeing patients injured in taxicabs: three here, four there, six at another hospital, so it's easy to underestimate the problem,"



Some other doctors have made independent comments about partitions.


Dr. John Sherman - Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, New York Hospital, New York City -  "The results are uniformly disastrous: patients with head wounds from dividers, fractured noses, lacerations and worse.  Last month I saw two patients die from taxi-related injuries.”     http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/14/opinion/l-we-need-protection-from-perilous-taxis-770395.html

I have spoken with Dr. Sherman more than once. He is exasperated and has stopped his efforts to correct the problem. He accepts the partition risks as part of life in NYC.


Dr. Marc Melrose - Emergency Physician, Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan - "Cabs don't have to get into an accident for people to be hurt. The cab stops short and you go flying into the screen with the handles and bolts and that metal change thing. It's dangerous."        http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/16/news/unplanned-taxi-destination-hospital.html
Dr. Rahul Sharma, NYUMC  - has worked in several city emergency rooms, is all too familiar with the  damage the anti-crime partitions, required since 1994, can cause. “Ask any ER doc in Manhattan, and they will tell you they see it very frequently,” he said. “People have a false sense of security in the backseat of a cab.”
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/riding-new-york-city-taxi-seat-belt-danger-health-article-1.1036853

Dr. Sharma has been working with Dr. Goldfrank and they are pursuing legislation to make people use seat belts in the rear seats of taxi cabs. I pointed out that correction of the violations of federal motor vehicle safety standards would solve the injury problem for BOTH front and rear seat occupants.

Dr. Stephen Pearlman - Upper East Side facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon - “Gaping soft tissue injuries are also prevalent, since an edge of a partition's sliding door or its metal track can tear the skin.” “In the most severe instances, this causes "almost an avulsion" of the nose.”        http://www.nysun.com/new-york/doctors-predict-fewer-taxi-craniofacial-injuries/51639/

Dr. Paul Lorenc – NYC Plastic Surgeon “Crushed noses, fractured cheekbones and eye sockets, and "stellate," or burst lacerations, are among the most common injuries suffered when a passenger is hurled into the clear partition.”
Dr. Geoffrey Doughlin - E.R. Director, Jamaica Hospital – ‘Since the partitions act as a second windshield, back seat passengers fall victim to the same type of injuries as people in the front passenger position, the "suicide seat," ‘

Dr. Gary Sbordone – Massachusetts Chiropracter  - “Could cause complex spinal injuries.”

Dr. Sbordone treated my spine injury from a partition in a rear end collision.

Dr. Kai Sturmann - Acting Chairman, Emergency Department, Beth Israel  -  “I would like to see back-seat air bags.”


Clearly, there is a problem with partitions in taxis.

There are problems in cruisers also. Those losses are difficult to document, but I have solicited a number of comments from officers who have boasted that they can use the partition to injure people. Here is one.
Tim Ray - a police officer of Monee, Illinois - wrote the following message to me on the internet. This message was available for anybody in the world to read.

"HERE'S  SOMETHING I LIKE TO DO… WHEN YOU GET AN UNFRIENDLY PASSENGER IN YOUR CAR, WHO LIKES TO RUN HIS MOUTH, PUT HIM ON THE PASSENGER SIDE WHERE THE WIRE SCREEN IS, AND WHILE HE IS RUNNING HIS MOUTH, TELL HIM THAT YOU CAN'T HEAR HIM, SO HE GETS RIGHT UP TO IT, AND WHEN HIS FACE GETS RIGHT THERE. SLAM ON YOUR BRAKES, I GUARANTEE IT SHUTS THEM UP EVERY TIME. "

Officer Ray is describing a cowardly, vicious felony, which can be fairly characterized as nationwide, institutionalized police brutality.

The sword cuts both ways. Officers are injured by partition grids also.






Dr. Stone calls partitions “Intuitively effective”? What does this mean? “We think it works, so let’s assume it does.”?
Dr. Stone supports taxi regulators who overstate the objective of taxi partition use. He also says; “This study makes one implicit assumption… it is assumed that assaults on taxi drivers are a proxy measure of taxi driver homicides. Thus, if shields reduce assaults then it can be assumed that they will reduce homicides.”  
You have no need to pay attention to his data which shows a 300% increase in cab driver murders. If… partitions are viable, or not, for murder rate reductions… is not a question your office would deal with. Your office would only deal with compliance issues, and performance issues in crashes, not assaults.
Regarding paragraph four; I only request that the agency do… as required by congressional directive. In order to reduce the frequency and severity of injury and the frequency of death, your agency should make it clear that partitions, IF USED, must be built and installed in compliance with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Currently none are certified, and none comply. Regarding the merits of using a partition; you mention a trade off of safety in the absence of a partition. A previous USDOT letter (from Armstrong) mentioned a trade off of safety using a partition.
“Trading off safety” with a partition is illegal and cited in the original letter of warning in 1984.
Trading off safety by not using a partition is not your concern. There are no federal standards regarding operator retention of control, nor are there any regarding assaults on operators. Just what partitions may, or may not be viable for… is none of your business. If taxi regulators are telling the truth about assault prevention, or not… should not be up for discussion with USDOT personnel. Your job is to be sure partitions comply. Trading off safety by using an illegal partition is your concern. Any so-called trade-off of safety from assailants, from ‘not using a partition’ should not concern you.

I thank you for the information about FMVSS 226. Reading it cleared up my confusion about the ‘airbag/partition intrusion zone conflict’ question. If there are other standards that mention partitions, please let me know.
Do I understand correctly that because FMVSS no. 226 excludes partitioned vehicles, that Mr. Reid was correct when he said cabs and cruisers are exempt from all FMVSS’s? The confusion persists.

That partitions are built, offered for sale, sold or installed in violation of FMVSS’s, is your concern. Even if no injuries resulted, the law should be enforced anyway. Unfortunately, many deaths and injuries do occur. So many so, that NYC trauma surgeons were alarmed enough to conduct two studies.

Dr.  Talmor, Dr. Barie, Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Hoffman, Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, NY. In 1996 four surgeons from the Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell
Medical Center released a report, this is a review of it.

 “Craniofacial injuries resulting from taxicab accidents in New York City

 Taxicab accidents are a common occurrence in New York City. This review was undertaken to characterize the nature of craniofacial injuries that result from taxicab accidents.
 Data were collected on 16 patients who required admission to trauma or plastic and reconstructive surgery services, after sustaining craniofacial injury as a result of a taxicab accidents. 
 Front-end deceleration collisions were the most common mechanism of injury. 
 Fifty-six percent of the patients were thrown against the bulletproof, Plexiglas driver safety divider and sustained an injury most commonly to the anterior midface. 
 Both bony and soft tissue injuries were common in the entire group. 
“Given the high incidence of craniofacial injury, appropriate safety standards for taxicabs must be initiated, including the reevaluation of the utility of the safety divider”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8722975

Another group also studied this matter.

Dr. Arnold Komisar,  Dr. Stanley Blaugrund and Dr. Martin Camins - Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC - "Every emergency room in New York is seeing patients injured in taxicabs: three here, four there, six at another hospital, so it's easy to underestimate the problem,"
http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/16/news/unplanned-taxi-destination-hospital.html



Some other doctors have made independent comments about partitions.


Dr. John Sherman - Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, New York Hospital, New York City -  "The results are uniformly disastrous: patients with head wounds from dividers, fractured noses, lacerations and worse.  Last month I saw two patients die from taxi-related injuries.”     http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/14/opinion/l-we-need-protection-from-perilous-taxis-770395.html

I have spoken with Dr. Sherman more than once. He is exasperated and has stopped his efforts to correct the problem. He accepts the partition risks as part of life in NYC.


Dr. Marc Melrose - Emergency Physician, Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan - "Cabs don't have to get into an accident for people to be hurt. The cab stops short and you go flying into the screen with the handles and bolts and that metal change thing. It's dangerous."        http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/16/news/unplanned-taxi-destination-hospital.html
Dr. Rahul Sharma, NYUMC  - has worked in several city emergency rooms, is all too familiar with the  damage the anti-crime partitions, required since 1994, can cause. “Ask any ER doc in Manhattan, and they will tell you they see it very frequently,” he said. “People have a false sense of security in the backseat of a cab.”
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/riding-new-york-city-taxi-seat-belt-danger-health-article-1.1036853

Dr. Sharma has been working with Dr. Goldfrank and they are pursuing legislation to make people use seat belts in the rear seats of taxi cabs. I pointed out that correction of the violations of federal motor vehicle safety standards would solve the injury problem for BOTH front and rear seat occupants.

Dr. Stephen Pearlman - Upper East Side facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon - “Gaping soft tissue injuries are also prevalent, since an edge of a partition's sliding door or its metal track can tear the skin.” “In the most severe instances, this causes "almost an avulsion" of the nose.”        http://www.nysun.com/new-york/doctors-predict-fewer-taxi-craniofacial-injuries/51639/

Dr. Paul Lorenc – NYC Plastic Surgeon “Crushed noses, fractured cheekbones and eye sockets, and "stellate," or burst lacerations, are among the most common injuries suffered when a passenger is hurled into the clear partition.”
Dr. Geoffrey Doughlin - E.R. Director, Jamaica Hospital – ‘Since the partitions act as a second windshield, back seat passengers fall victim to the same type of injuries as people in the front passenger position, the "suicide seat," ‘

Dr. Gary Sbordone – Massachusetts Chiropracter  - “Could cause complex spinal injuries.”

Dr. Sbordone treated my spine injury from a partition in a rear end collision.

Dr. Kai Sturmann - Acting Chairman, Emergency Department, Beth Israel  -  “I would like to see back-seat air bags.”


Clearly, there is a problem with partitions in taxis.

There are problems in cruisers also. Those losses are difficult to document, but I have solicited a number of comments from officers who have boasted that they can use the partition to injure people. Here is one.
Tim Ray - a police officer of Monee, Illinois - wrote the following message to me on the internet. This message was available for anybody in the world to read.

"HERE'S  SOMETHING I LIKE TO DO… WHEN YOU GET AN UNFRIENDLY PASSENGER IN YOUR CAR, WHO LIKES TO RUN HIS MOUTH, PUT HIM ON THE PASSENGER SIDE WHERE THE WIRE SCREEN IS, AND WHILE HE IS RUNNING HIS MOUTH, TELL HIM THAT YOU CAN'T HEAR HIM, SO HE GETS RIGHT UP TO IT, AND WHEN HIS FACE GETS RIGHT THERE. SLAM ON YOUR BRAKES, I GUARANTEE IT SHUTS THEM UP EVERY TIME. "

Officer Ray is describing a cowardly, vicious felony, which can be fairly characterized as nationwide, institutionalized police brutality.

The sword cuts both ways. Officers are injured by partition grids also.



As a manufacturer of federally compliant partitions it would be absurd of me to campaign against the use of all partitions. I have never asked that all partitions be removed, just those that don’t comply and those that aren’t certified to comply. Beyond that, I’d like to see mandates for all partitions in taxis lifted. Use of a taxi partition should be a choice for the taxi driver to make. But that is not a DOT matter.

             If you are leaving enforcement to the cities and/or states, please explain their obligations under federal law, pertaining to setting standards that are lower than the federal standards.

Thank you,



Steve Crowell




            As a manufacturer of federally compliant partitions it would be absurd of me to campaign against the use of all partitions. I have never asked that all partitions be removed, just those that don’t comply and those that aren’t certified to comply. Beyond that, I’d like to see mandates for all partitions in taxis lifted. Use of a taxi partition should be a choice for the taxi driver to make. But that is not a DOT matter.

             If you are leaving enforcement to the cities and/or states, please explain their obligations under federal law, pertaining to setting standards that are lower than the federal standards.

Thank you,



Steve Crowell

NYC TLC refusal to recognize risk of partitions in 1997

January 28, 1997
        
                                   NEW YORK CITY
                                  TAXI & LIMOUSINE
                                     COMMISSION
        
         221 West 41st Street, New York, New York 10036-7208 (212) 840-4520
        
         DIANE McGRATh-McKECHNIE
     
        
        
                                                       January 28, 1997
        
               Mr. Steven W. Crowell
               4706 Canal Street
               New Orleans, Louisiana 70114
        
               Dear Mr. Crowell,
        
                    Thank you for taking the time to share with us your concerns
               and opinions, as stated in your January 15 e-mail.
        
                    If I may, I would like to clear up some of the
               misconceptions expressed in your communication.  It was far more
               recently, two or so years, in fact, since the partition was
               mandated for fleet taxicabs.  Former Police Commissioner Bratton
               was in no way involved in the process, which was enacted wholly
               by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission and supported
               by the Giuliani Administration.
        
                    I must take exception with your remark regarding the City's
               motives in passing a partition requirement.  Through its passage,
               as well as the passage of rules mandating such other innovations
               as the trouble light, we have done more than  appear functional
               in protecting cab drivers,' we have been successful in protecting
               cab drivers.
        
                    If you have information pertinent to the safety of taxicab
               drivers in the City of New York, we would indeed be most grateful
               if you would share it with us.
        
                                                  Sincerely,

                                                  Diane McGrath-McKechnie
                                                  Chairperson
                                                  New York City
                                                  Taxi and Limousine Commission
        
               DMM: aj f


Crowell Manufacturing Company
211 ~ Westend Parkway #233 New Orleans, LA
504-451-5033
Fax: 504-366-7702




Steven Warren Crowell
President & Founder
Crowell Manufacturing Co Inc.
2111 Westbend P&kway #233
New Orleans, LA

April 7, 1997



Dianne McGrath-McKechnie
Commissioner of The TLC
221 West4lst St.
New York, NY 10036-7208

Dear Ms. McGrath-McKechnie,
I received your letters dated January 28th and March 28th of this year. Thank you for your attention to those matters.
Can you tell me, as far back as you can find, what the evolution of partition requirements has been for NYC medallion cabs.
In your Jan. letter you state that the partition requirement was mandated for fleet cabs in the last "two or so years" in the March letter you state that "The partition was first required for non-individually owned and operated cabs approximately two years ago and independently owned cabs are not required to have partitions".
Is this a different application of the partition requirement or is it the same thing worded differently?
Does this mean that all partitions used, before two years ago, were used on a voluntary basis?
I have seen a copy of the NYC TL&C regulations dated prior to 1987, and the partition requirement is in there. Although I do not know lust exactly which cabs they are required for. I was under the impression that 'mini-fleets' were not required to install them at that time.
One of the things that prompted the Boston Police Department to require partitions in 1970 was the alleged success of their use in New York.
About safety - In 1984 I met with Capt. Arthur Cadegan to tell him I was disturbed about the removal of shoulder harnesses (which was supposedly unavoidable to permit partition installation) from Boston cabs, in addition to several other hazards inherent in popular partition designs. I told him of the frustration I had encountered speaking to the manufacturer/installer of the partition, in that they felt safety was of less concern in a cab even though cabs have a great deal more daily human exposure than regular cars. I suggested that the BPDHD abandon their efforts to set specification requirements for partition design and instead refer to the Federal standards for items of after-market motor vehicle equipment and insist on a certification of compliance label on the partition.
            Captain Cadegan told me that Federal standards had no jurisdiction in Boston.
            Needless to say, I was stunned to hear a law school graduate say such a thing and countered that the feds did have superceding authority. Captain Cadegan then told me "If that is true, why don't you have the feds tell me so?" So, I did have the feds tell them (and three northeast U.S. partition manufacturers - two in Boston and one in New York) that Federal standards are applicable to cab partitions.
            In March of 1987 I forwarded copies of - the formal letters of warning to the manufacturers and the letter of caution sent  to the BPDHD - to the NYT&LC. I suggested at that time that the TLC abandon the partition requirement or be sure that the only partitions used - be those which are certified to be in compliance with all applicable Federal standards in the form of a label or tag on the partition. I also let the TLC know that I offer a partition that is certified to comply with Federal standards. I was never able to confirm, in writing that that the requirement was abandoned, but I believed it had been, given that there is a 'new' partition requirement as of "two years ago".

            Regarding your taking exception to my comment regarding the 'appearance of function without substance', I did not mean to say that there may not have been appreciable reductions in cab driver assaults since the partition requirement.  (Personally, I feel safer without one.)
            Your predecessors' implementation of bad partition requirements is not a thing you are responsible for. Failure to recognize the need to enhance occupant safety in cabs with partitions is a potential error.
            What I did mean to say is, after burying so many co-workers, slain by killers of cab drivers, that I am distressed that partition manufacturers and cab regulators tout the bullet-resistance capacity of a device that is so easily circumvented.
            It is not my intention to put anybody on the spot. It is my intention to see that no cab driver is led to a feeling of false security regarding assault attempts by persons with guns, that are easily aimed at the driver through the drivers' window.

Sincerely,

Steve Crowell