(SPEEDWAY) - Several taxi drivers have filed a lawsuit against the Speedway Police Department, saying their taxi licenses were seized without explanation on Indy 500 race day.
The ACLU of Indiana is representing some of the cab drivers in the class action federal suit. Legal director Ken Falk says the problem occurred on Main Street in Speedway after the race was over on May 26, as the taxis tried to pick up passengers who had been dropped off earlier in the day and who had arranged for pickup. "Police officers from Speedway came by and stopped approximately 80 taxi drivers. They asked to see their taxi licenses - their license to operate a taxi - and then took them," Falk said.
Falk says the drivers were not given an explanation as to why their taxi licenses were taken, and since race day is on a Sunday, they weren't able to get their licenses back for at least two days. "When they went to pick up their licenses, most of them received $50 parking tickets, although they had not been parking. The problem is that you can get a parking ticket, but the penalty cannot be that police seize your license," said Falk.
The Speedway Police Department hasn't seen the lawsuit yet. "We can't comment on the lawsuit until we are served and it crosses someone's desk," said Speedway Lt. Trent Theobold.
The lawsuit claims the department violated the 4th Amendment's ban on unreasonable search and seizure as well as the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. "The state has no business seizing your property without cause and certainly has no business taking something as important as the license you use for your livelihood without some sort of process," said Falk.
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