Miami Beach's cabbie problem

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Georgina Lee has been driving a cab for 32 years. Times have never been tougher for a Beach cabbie, the 55-year-old Cuban American attests. So please excuse her if she's a bit bent out of shape with the rough treatment she's been getting from Miami Beach's finest.

"We're not making any money," Lee gripes. "And on top of that we are being harassed and abused by the cops."

In the past month, Miami Beach police officers have tagged Lee with six traffic citations. Last week, she got a ticket for running a stop sign. "The cop told me I had to count to sixty after stopping," Lee says. Her most recent run-in with the po-po this past January 16 earned her two tickets.

Lee, who drives for Super Yellow Cab, says she showed up at the cab stand at Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue to pick up her assigned cab at around 9 am. Across the street, a stocky black officer was giving a ticket to another cab driver when he noticed Lee looking at him, she claims. "He asked me why I was looking at him wrong," Lee says. "Then he said that I needed a couple of tickets and that he was tired of all us cabbies."

He gave her a second ticket for not having on her seat belt. "I hadn't even gotten in the car when he came up to me," she says. "I opened the door to sit down while he wrote me the ticket." When she lit a cigarette, the surly cop threatened to take her to jail if she didn't put out her square. "This guy was very aggressive," Lee alleged.

The cabbie was only able to get the officer's last name, Campbell. She drove to the police station on Eleventh Street and Washington Avenue where she complained to Campbell's superior Sgt. Jerome Berrian. "But he said it was my word against the cop," Lee grouses.  "It's not fair."

Berrian and Miami Beach Police spokespeople have not responded for comment but I'll be updating this post once I get their response. In addition, cabbies who have similar complaints about police harassment on Miami Beach can contact me at 305-571-7562 or via email.

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