EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 22, 2013

Cab ban dispute moves to federal court as city moves to toughen it

(Continued)

Caruso also alleged that police are stopping Andover cabs that are just passing through Lawrence to get to or from one location outside the city to another. Furthermore, Caruso alleged, the city’s cap on medallions at 150 has driven their cost to $30,000, which he said forces Lawrence residents who can’t afford a medallion to drive for out-of-town companies.

Caruso also noted that Lawrence police have been towing the Andover cabs for months under a clause in the law that allows the cabs to “seize evidence,” even though the cabs are immediately released to drivers who pay a towing fee of up to $145. The drivers also are given a $500 citation and their passengers are handed over to Lawrence cab companies.

Caruso also alleged that police are telling Andover drivers to “get out of the city. Don’t come back.”

“ ‘You’re not even allowed to cross through Lawrence,’ “ Caruso said an Andover driver was told by a Lawrence police officer.

“This is speculation,” City Council President Frank Moran injected, in an unusual challenge by a councilor to a speaker at a public hearing. “Do you have proof?”

“I have an affidavit filed in U.S. District court in Boston, signed under pains of perjury,” Caruso responded. “I also have two or three witnesses.”

“With all due respect, do you know where you are?” Moran injected again a minute or two later. “You’re at the Lawrence City Council. We look out for businesses in the city. You’re advocating for a business from out of town.”

“I’m three blocks away from where I grew up,” Caruso responded. “I know where I am. I’m representing Lawrence residents.”

Caruso said all but one of the few dozen drivers from the Andover cab company is from Lawrence.

Lawrence Police Lt. Shawn Conway was the only other speaker at the hearing.

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