Janet Lee

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

Friday, March 11, 2016


Boston Globe
February 14, 1984
Author:  Frank Mahoney Globe Staff
Estimated printed pages: 2

Boston taxi cab drivers who have firearm licenses will be allowed to carry guns to protect themselves, Boston Police Comr. Joseph M. Jordan announced at a press conference yesterday.

Is this announcement possibly a result of my meeting with Arthur Cadegan the previous Friday, 2/10/84, when I threatened (a bluff) to file suit if the phony cab driver gun ban assertion wasn’t retracted?

Jordan's ruling comes in the wake of the second murder of a cab driver in four days in the city and cancels a long-standing order of the department's Hackney Carriage division that forbids cab drivers to be armed.

The alleged “long-standing order of the department's Hackney Carriage division that forbids (illegally) cab drivers to be armed” was, according to Captain Cadegan, ‘an unwritten rule’.

Andre Louis, 35, of Dunlap street, Dorchester, a driver for United Cab. was shot and killed early Sunday on Marcella street, Roxbury. Fertil Supre, 42, a driver for Checker Cab, was shot and killed in Jamaica Plain early last Wednesday.

The  Hackney Carriage division had long ago stopped puzzling over cab drivers being shot dead with allegedly bullet-proof partitions mandated for all cabs.

Police believe robbery was the motive in both cases.

Duh, ya think? Oh, that’s right, so MANY of the cab drivers’ murders are ‘provoked’.

Jordan said yesterday he would not comment on whether the two murders were related.

Besides the granting of permission to carry guns, Jordan announced the following plan to improve security:

- Establishing four police checkpoints throughout the city.

Yeah, right! The driver can just tell the perp; “I gotta make a little detour here to a POLICE checkpoint.”

- Flashing dome lights to indicate a driver in trouble.

Dome lights are on the inside of the vehicle! Not a very ‘low-profile’  method to alert police.

- Increasing the number of police decoy cabs from two to five per shift.

That program has admittedly (by cops themselves) been more of a boon to officer income than to actually be an effective method to find perps.

- Hooking up direct trouble phones from the cab companies to police operations.

NOT a new program.

- Increasing spot checks of cabs by area patrol cars.

Another idea that has been less than worthless was this ‘spot-check’ nonsense. It served better to hassle cab occupants than find perps. Did they really expect to find a passenger holding a gun on a driver? In this Facebook Video the cop clearly did NOT expect to find a perp with a gun. He is very lucky. He was not prepared. The driver should have put the cab in reverse and hit the police car.

- Periodic reminders via police radio to patrol cars to be alert for cabs in trouble.

Don’t the cops read the newspapers?

Jordan ruled out a plea from cab drivers to allow them to have someone ride shotgun in the front seat. He said no new gun licenses would be issued to drivers unless they can pass all of the necessary qualifications.

Did he say this because somebody suggested that the usual qualifiers be waived for cab drivers?

He said there was no way to determine immediately how many drivers presently had licenses to carry guns but he said he felt it was a significant number.

About 50 drivers and some owners met with Jordan and Supt. John F. Geagan late yesterday afternoon seeking more protection.

Checker Cab officials announced yesterday they are offering a $2500 reward for any information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the killers of either of the cab drivers.

Drivers leaving the meeting seemed unhappy with the police response and generally indicated that the average policeman was not responsive to their plight.

Anti driver elitism persists. It existed in the 70’s and it continues in the 00’s. With the help of the media it has spread from the police to the general public.

Jean Coles, 29, is from Haiti and has been driving cabs in Boston for seven years. "It's a damn jungle. I am going to sell my cab before I get killed. What good is a gun? It will just cause more harm."

Armed drivers have had an astoundingly discouraging effect on the inclination to shoot cab drivers.

Another driver said, "I am a Christian so I can't carry a gun. It is against my religion." He too felt that there would be more shootings as armed drivers try to defend themselves against holdups.

Obviously this driver wants all shootings limited to those where only cab drivers are shot. He doesn’t seem do understand that if assailants are afraid of being shot by their prospective victims they will make fewer attempts. History has shown this to be a very effective deterrent.

Mayor Raymond L. Flynn visited Andrea Louis earlier yesterday and expressed his condolences and assured her that the city would temporarily provide her and the couple's four children, Elizabeth, 5; Andre, 4; Beatrice, 3; and Fernand, 1, with the means to obtain food and other essentials.


Police statistics show that crimes against cab drivers had dropped significantly in 1983, with 56.6 fewer crimes reported than in l982, Jordan said. In 1981 three drivers were killed, one in l982, and none last year. Unarmed robberies were down 50 percent and armed robberies down 63 percent over the same period, Jordan reported.

All of this in spite of universal taxi partition installation mandates in place since 1970.

He credited the drop to improved police and cab company security measures but said that though the figures presented a bright picture he was sure they were of no consolation to the families and friends of the two latest murder victims.

Isn’t it odd that the police haven’t recognized that the frequency of cab driver murders happens in ‘fits & starts’ and is more easily related to the fluctuating pressure due to the so-called ‘war-on-drugs’ and the resulting rise in the price of black market drugs.

Edition:  N
Section:  RUN OF PAPER
Page:  ?????
Copyright 1984, 2001 Globe Newspaper Company

Record Number:  8306200555

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