A Black man in New York was pulled over by authorities after he dropped his biracial wife off at work. The officers accused him of being an illegal cab driver even after the couple explained that they were married.
According to RT.com, the couple is now firing back with a lawsuit accusing the officers of racially profiling and persecuting the husband, Dan Keys.
In May 2013, Keys was driving his wife, Symone Palermo, to work at a Queens mall in in the couple’s Lincoln Town Car.
While his wife would usually sit the passenger seat of the vehicle, that day the seat was wet from rain the night before.
When investigators from the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission saw Palermo get out of the vehicle, they pulled over her husband and accused him of running an unlicensed taxi business.
While the officers claim they saw money exchanged as well, Keys’ lawsuit accuses the officers of pulling him over based on racial profiling.
“The only reason that the TLC agents stopped Keys was because they observed an African-American male driving what they thought to be a white female,” the lawsuit said.
After realizing there had been some confusion, Palermo came back out to the car to explain to the officers that Keys was her husband and that she was the owner of the car he was driving.
Despite the explanations, the officers reported a very different story.
“The TLC agents then signed a report stating that they observed Keys dropping off a white female passenger, that the white female passenger stated that the vehicle was being used as a taxi, and that money was exchanged between… Keys and the alleged white female passenger,” the lawsuit continues.
The lawsuit also claimed that Palermo and Keys were forced to miss several days at work because the TLC seized the vehicle for eight days.
Eventually the couple were given the opportunity to defend themselves against what they claimed were bogus accusations.
On May 16, 2012, a Taxi and Limousine Tribunal hearing examiner, Tamara Jordan, found the couple not guilty after the investigating officer “provided inconsistent statements throughout his testimony.”
“We think there was no basis for the TLC to have pulled over my clients in the first instance,” the couple’s lawyer David Haber told DNAinfo New York.
Haber added that the officers had more than enough opportunity to let his clients go after they realized their error, but instead they decided to “double down on their mistake.” Haber claims that officers “flat-out lied in their summonses.”
As of Friday morning, the TLC has not commented on the allegations listed in the lawsuit.