A Harlem attorney claims the Taxi and Limousine Commission threatened to arrest her for acting as an illegal taxi service when she dropped off her nanny at LaGuardia Airport.
Maria Victoria Bayoneto – a 52-year-old single mother – said she was racially profiled when TLC officers used “intimidation tactics” and surrounded her car before making unfounded charges.
“They’ve been very strong,” the corporate attorney, who is originally from the Philippines, told The Post on Sunday.
“They kept asking the same thing, even though I was like, ‘What’s going on? “
Bayoneto then said officers gave him an ultimatum.
“After a while [one agent] said, “There are two ways we can do it,” she explained of the June 8 standoff.
“‘One, we can do it easily: you give us your ID and tell us why you need it, or two will be more difficult.’ And I said, ‘Look, I’m just a mom dropping off the nanny.’ “
She said at one point that half a dozen undercover cops surrounded her, “harassing me, intimidating me, showing me handcuffs.”
She added: “They were around my car and they had my breathing so I couldn’t leave at the time.”
TLC officers are unarmed and not affiliated with the NYPD.
The stunned attorney said she has since filed a complaint with the city via 311 and contacted Governor Kathy Hochul’s office to report the unnecessary encounter.
She told the Post that she was also considering legal action against the agency.
Bayoneta said the ugly scene unfolded when she got back in her car and a woman knocked on her car window asking, “Are you available for a ride?”
“And I was very puzzled, like, what are you saying? Then I’m like, ‘Wait. I am not an Uber or Lyft driver. And she said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, okay,'” she said. “And then I think I saw her nodding at some people.
“And then I turned around and there were two men in civilian clothes knocking on my window,” she recalled. “And they said, ‘Can we see your vehicle registration and driver’s license?’ ‘Why?’ And they just repeated the question and I said, ‘Why? why do you need it? What did I do?'”
Bayoneta said she was eventually allowed to leave – but has been smoking ever since.
“They had absolutely no reasonable cause for it,” she fumed. “I believe my constitutional rights have been violated and I believe I have been racially profiled.
“I think I was racially profiled because none of my white friends would likely be stopped at the airport on suspicion of being a driver,” she said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with being a TLC driver, but I didn’t give any indication.”
The TLC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.