My intern Jessica Greene has a great scoop on the continuing efforts of Nashville’s taxi cartels and their allies in city government to harass the city’s smaller driver services.
If you’ll remember, her first piece looked at the new protectionist regulations that imposed minimum fares on private car services. Now, she reports that the inspectors for the city regulatory agency that oversees both industries have been targeting the cars from the companies that are suing to overturn the regulations. They’re getting pulled over and hit with fines for petty offenses.
But it gets better from there:
During these stops, inspectors wore badges identifying themselves as members of the Nashville Police, according to a former TLC inspector and exclusively confirmed to HuffPost by Kris Mumford, spokeswoman for the Metro Nashville Police Department after months of queries. According to the former inspector, the police impostors also improperly used badges, sirens and flashing lights.
Under Tennessee law, impersonating a police officer for the purpose of “causing another to believe that the person is a law enforcement officer” constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry a penalty of up to 11 months in jail, fines of up to $2,500 or both.
“It just came to my attention on Tuesday that one of our officers actually saw an inspector wearing a badge that said ‘Inspector’ but also said ‘Nashville Police.’ Metro is not aware of exactly when or how they got those badges, but they were not authorized by Chief Steve Anderson,” Mumford told HuffPost. According to Mumford, the police have confiscated seven badges that identified TLC inspectors as members of Metro Police or Nashville Police.
According to the former inspector, who resigned in late 2011 and wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, the commission had been making ample use of the spurious badges. TLC workers would conduct stakeouts in unmarked vehicles and use blue lights — permitted only for official police vehicles — to make traffic stops, the former inspector said. Undercover inspectors would specifically target smaller, independent private car services and give them specious citations, the former inspector said.
A nice scoop for her third article. Even though it was her dogged reporting that turned all of this up, I’m going to go ahead and pretend it was solely due to my excellent tutelage.