Married couple Dan Keys Jr., 66, and Symone Palermo, 53 were recently investigated by a New York City government agency because Dan was under suspicion of running an illegal cab service.
The agency had no good reason to assume that Dan was running a cab service, but because he, a black man, was seen on multiple occasions driving around with his wife, a biracial woman who appeared white, the agency felt that it would be appropriate to open up an investigation and follow Dan throughout his day to day activities.
If this violation of privacy is not bad enough, their Lincoln Town Car was seized and held in the impound for over 8 days. The couple immediately attempted to get their car out of the impound lot and explain the misunderstanding, but when they did they both received a summons to appear in court.
Now the couple is filing a racial discrimination lawsuit which states that minorities are specifically targeted in a citywide program to crack down on cab services that haven’t paid to join the local government protection racket.
“Upon information and belief, when attempting to identify illegally operated taxis, it is the official policy or custom of the city to instruct its employees to target and single out vehicles operated by minorities with white passengers,” the lawsuit states.
“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.
“Once they pulled over my clients, they had many opportunities to let them go and to realize they pulled over the wrong people. Instead they doubled down on their mistake. I believe that they flat-out lied in their summonses.” David added.
The government agency in question is Taxi & Limousine Commission, a regulatory agency that helps to monopolize the cab industry and stomp out competition for dominant corporations. This is a perfect example of “regulatory capture”, the process by which government mandated regulatory agencies eventually come to be dominated by the very industries they were charged with regulating.
Regulatory capture happens when a regulatory agency, supposedly formed to act in the public’s interest, eventually acts in ways that benefit the industry it is supposed to be regulating, rather than the public. This is one of the many ways that governments and corporations have been working together to stifle market competition and maintain monopolies since the guild systems that existed in the age of mercantilism.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.