Sunday, May 12, 2013


New Orleans cab driver accused of raping passenger later did a good deed, rider says

Two days after he allegedly raped an unconscious passenger in the back seat of his taxi, a New Orleans cabbie refused a reward for returning another fare's wallet containing several hundred dollars. 

Sohail Khan, 40, was booked on charges of simple rape
and second-degree kidnapping for allegedly raping a woman
 who was his passenger last Thursday. Police said Khan, a Yellow
Cab driver, stopped to pick up the woman on an
Uptown street about 3:30 a.m., watched her fall asleep
in the back of his cab, and then proceeded to pull over
 and rape her in the 7600 block
of Plum Street. (Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office)

Instead, that passenger said, the driver, Sohail Khan, urged him to tell | The Times-Picayune about his good experience.

"I took out a $100 bill and without a beat, he says, 'No, no, no. I don't want any money. I represent New Orleans. If you can tell somebody about it that would be fine,'" recalled David Goldwyn, 54, a Washington, D.C., energy consultant who was in town for Jazz Fest. "He said, 'You could write something.' I said, 'Who do I write?' He said, ''"

Within a few days, New Orleans police released a computer composite sketch of the suspected rapist from the victim's description. After that, according to an NOPD report, several cab drivers called authorities to report that Khan had asked them for advice on how to delete surveillance footage that had been recorded on his in-car camera.

Police say Khan, 40, a Yellow Cab driver, picked up a 20-year-old female student in the 4800 block of Lyons Street on May 2 around 3:30 a.m. The victim told police she passed out in the back seat, and later awoke to find the driver having sex with her against her will in the 7600 block of Plum Street. He then drove to another location and dropped her off, police said.

On May 4, Khan was "totally calm, totally relaxed" as he drove a cab full of Jazz Fest revelers around the city, Goldwyn said. "He was very gracious, even with a somewhat unruly crowd," he said.

After finding Goldwyn's wallet in the cab, Khan called and emailed him using information on Goldwyn's business card. Around midnight, Khan delivered the wallet to the passenger at his hotel.

A passenger, David Goldwyn, wrote a letter to the editor,
saying, in part: "I wanted to note Mr. Sohail Khan's
grace and integrity.
New Orleans is represented well."
The letter was published on Friday May 10, 2013,
the same day a follow-up story
about Khan's arrest appeared.

So Goldwyn wrote a letter to the editor, saying, in part: "I wanted to note Mr. Sohail Khan's grace and integrity. New Orleans is represented well." The letter was published on Friday, the same day a follow-up story about Khan's arrest appeared.

Because of a 2012 ordinance requiring all city cabs to be equipped with location-tracking software and in-car cameras, investigators were able to quickly identify 20 cabs that were in the area at the time of the alleged crime. Police said they collected all the videos from those cabs and reviewed them.

The video in Khan's cab shows the victim entering his cab and Khan subsequently pulling over to a location that is not the destination she had requested, the police report says. The driver then is observed covering the in-car camera's lens, according to the report.

"The video retrieved from the suspect's cab is the smoking gun in this case. It's indisputable. The sequence of events that happened in the taxi that morning is just as the victim described to our detectives," Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said in a statement.

On May 7, detectives brought Khan into the NOPD sex crimes office, where he declined to give a statement. He was booked on counts of simple rape and second-degree kidnapping.

In June 2010, Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies booked Khan on counts of simple assault, extortion and false imprisonment after he allegedly locked a passenger who declined to tip him in his cab for 30 minutes and told her, "You will pay me my 10 percent tip, or I will not let you go," according to the police report.

Records show Khan pleaded guilty and was given probation. His New Orleans taxicab driver's permit was revoked; it was unclear Saturday when it was reinstated.

"If the investigation says he's guilty and he did it, it means we don't need these criminals in the industry," said Khaled Zeitoun, a United Cabs driver. "The cab driver is the ambassador of the city."

Efforts to reach Khan and his attorney on Saturday were not successful.

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The idea behind the text.
Respect for the truth is almost the basis of all morality.
Nothing can come from nothing.

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