General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

Can we report this guy for abusing his powers or harrassment?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7976points) October 21st, 2010 from iPhone

Today my mom and I were coming back from UM, and she got a phone call. We pulled off because here in MD you cannot use a phone while driving. I noticed this guy in a taxi staring at us, and after awhile we left and got lost in the neighborhood, and we saw that he was following us.

We eventually got out of the neighborhood and he was still tailing us. We stopped at a red light and mom rolled down her window. The conversation follows with M as mom and T as the Taxi.

M: Uh, can I help you?
T: I notice you were lost! I am taxi driver.
M: Oh, I just pulled off to make a call.
T: I am the neighborhood watch captain! You were not just calling, you were looking around!
M: since when can I not look around?
T: you cannot in MY neighborhood! If you come back to it ever again I will call 411 on you!
M: Sir, there’s a new rule that says that cellphones cannot be used while driving, so I just…
T: I do not care! I call 411!
M: Do it! Let me talk to the police, then! I’m not afraid of you.
T: (screaming profanity)
(green light)

So… is it possible to report him? I thought his behavior was completely uncalled for and just horrible.

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19 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

YUP, most neighborhood watches are trained by the police. That was not cool on his part.
Was he in a “Branded Taxi” Yellow?
Call the taxi company.

FutureMemory's avatar

Wow, he’s going to call Information on you two? He knows how to bring it!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Calling 411 is pretty safe…they just provide information. 911 is another matter, as it goes to the police/emergency hotline. I hope you all got his licence plate number. I’d report him. Even if he has authority in his neighborhood to act that way, I’m sure that the taxi company wouldn’t appreciate his behavior while in a work-identified vehicle.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@FutureMemory: that’s what I’m saying!

Trillian's avatar

If you see him again, ask him if he wants you to give him the number. ~

FutureMemory's avatar

“911, what is your emergency?”

I just saw two women pull over in a car…they looked around, then made a phone call!

“That’s it? That’s why you called? You’re a moron”. <click>

beancrisp's avatar

If someone was to do that to me I would ride around the neighborhood for the hell of it. He does not have the authority to stop anyone from using the public roads.

Seaofclouds's avatar

While I understand your frustration with the situation, I can understand his position if he is indeed part of neighborhood watch (especially if the area has had any recent crimes). Personally, I wouldn’t have even rolled my window down. If he was following me, he would have followed me straight to the nearest police station.

If you have his plate number or taxi cab number you could report him. Also, if you know which neighborhood you were in you could try to do it that way (but if he wasn’t really the neighborhood watch person, you could end up getting someone else in trouble).

chyna's avatar

@FutureMemory You got a laugh out of me today. GA!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@FutureMemory & @troubleinharlem you don’t know how close you’ve already come to an experience my parents had with my kids.

My folks had the kids for a visit one day about fifteen years ago, and they drove them to see the house I had grown up in many years earlier (in a town five miles from where they currently live, and a neighborhood where they still had friends!). They stopped outside the old house and no one got out of the car as my folks and the kids looked at the house. They backed into the driveway to turn around (dead end road), and left for home, five miles away in the neighboring town. Within a half-hour of arriving at home the local police arrived to ask them about the visit to the other house, because they had had a report (relayed from the other town’s police dept.) of “suspicious activity”.

At least it was handled professionally and politely, but otherwise not so much different from your experience. That “Neighborhood Watch Captain” should be relieved of his duties, for sure. It’s one thing to ask “Can I help…?” or even “What is your business here?” (maybe), but to instantly assume bad intent for “stopping and looking around” is over the top paranoid.

Jeruba's avatar

@Seaofclouds, I think this is a fine solution, hypothetically: “If he was following me, he would have followed me straight to the nearest police station.” I have often seen that suggestion as a way of dealing with a menacing situation.

The problem is: where is the nearest police station? I don’t even know where the nearest police station is to my home, never mind in a strange neighborhood. I don’t believe there are prominent signs pointing to police stations like the big blue and white “H” signs for hospitals. Should we make police stations easier to find in our neighborhoods? Do we even have police stations in our neighborhoods? How would we follow this suggestion?

Kayak8's avatar

I had a run in with a kid at a movie theatre some years ago. He was opening a new package of straws and dropped them all onto the floor. Discretely, he picked them up and put them in the straw container. I, equally discretely, went to the manager and told him what I had seen. That was it, I went to my movie. 2 hours later we got into the car in the parking lot and I saw the kid in another car. He started following us. I didn’t know where the closest police station was but I knew where A police station was (a fire station would likely have worked just as well) and I went there and made a report. The cops followed us home to make sure we got in safely.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Jeruba I’ve seen signs for police stations before. I understand what you are saying, but if someone was following me, I would have kept driving until I found a cop or a police station if I was in an area I didn’t know. If I needed to, I would have called the police to find the police station or used my GPS to find one. For people that don’t have that as an option, they could have kept driving or found a public place to stop at and have the confrontation. I just personally wouldn’t have rolled down my window and allowed a confrontation to happen at a red light.

In the situations mentioned in the OP, they had a cell phone. Mom could have handed the phone over to @troubleinharlem, she could have called 911 and said they have a stranger following them and they want to know where the nearest police station is or have a cop meet them somewhere along the way.

Brian1946's avatar

This guy follows and harasses two innocent women for pulling over to make a phone call and then doesn’t even know the number to report a police emergency, much less not even knowing what constitutes an actual emergency?

He’s the Inspector Clouseau/Javert of neighborhood watch captains.

I was involved in a somewhat related incident myself.

I passed a few cars to make lane change and then a left turn.
I thought I saw the cars that I passed go by as I was making my left turn, but after I completed the turn I noticed a car following me.
To see if the following was incidental or if it was intentionally tailing me, I made several turns and the car kept the tail.

I got scared thinking that someone was on my tail with a case of road rage, so I started driving toward the closest police station.
I turned on to a well-lit street, looked behind me, and to my relief saw that I was being followed by a police car.

I lowered my window and put both of my hands on the steering wheel.
I said, “Sorry officer, I thought I was being followed by someone with a case of road rage.”.
He said, “Road rage? We just noticed that you were speeding, so slow it down.”
I said, “Sure thing and thank you, officer”.
Bottom line: no ticket. :-)

Zaku's avatar

Where is the neighborhood?

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, provide the license plate number, time and date to the company of the taxi, and describe the strange behavior.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I think someone was off his meds today, @troubleinharlem. I hope you got his licence plate and called his company to let them know about this. He can’t go around harassing people like that, and his company might take a dim view of his antics, considering that while he’s in the taxi, he also represents their company.

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