The incident started around 2:30 a.m. when the cab driver picked up two men on the 200 block of Brown Street. The two men got into the cab and one of the men lit up a cigarette in the back seat of the cab. The cab driver asked the male to put out the cigarette because he does not allow smoking in his cab. The male passenger then reached through the partition and attempted to extinguish the cigarette on the cab drivers face just under his eye.
The cab driver immediately stopped the cab on the 500 block of Callowhill Street and got on the radio and asked for help from his dispatcher. The passenger involved then got out of the cab and began to punch the driver several times, the driver tried to flee and tripped and fell striking his head on a fire hydrant. The assailant then began to strike the cab driver again while he was on the ground.
It was at this time that a police officer pulled up on the scene and took the passenger into custody.
Fellow cab driver Ahmed Aly describes the cabbie's injuries: "He's beaten up really bad. He's got, like 10 stitches in the back of his head. He's got a cigarette burn under his eye. And he's got multiple injuries [on] his legs."
The passenger, identified as 21-year-old Justin Niezyporowicz of the 3200 block of Mercer Street, is now facing numerous charges.
Smoking is indeed banned in Philadelphia cabs.