Cabbies sue over license seizures at Indy 500

Indy 500 fans wait to get into this year's race. (WTHR file photo from May 2013)
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A group of cab drivers are suing over the seizure of their taxi licenses when they tried to pick up passengers after this year's Indianapolis 500.

The lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Indiana claims around 80 drivers had their licenses taken by town of Speedway officers and then were given $50 parking tickets when they returned days later to retrieve them. The lawsuit argues the licenses were taken without due process.

Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement spokesman Adam Baker says there was confusion between Indianapolis officers who directed taxi drivers onto a street near the track and Speedway officers who thought the cabs weren't allowed on the street.

"The Constitution prohibits the government from seizing our property without cause and without any sort of process. Both of these principles appeared to have been violated in this case," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana Legal Director.

Diedra Warren, Brian Thompson and Charlie Key are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. All three licensed cab drivers had driven customers to the track on race day and arranged to pick them up on Main Street in Speedway after the race. But when they returned to the spot where they had arranged the pick-up, officers seized their operators' licenses and told them to leave the area.

When the drivers went to the Speedway Police Department to pick up their licenses, they were also penalized with $50 parking tickets.

The lawsuit alleges that the actions of the police department "violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, because seizure of the licenses was not warranted, justified or reasonable, and violated due process."

The ACLU of Indiana is requesting a jury trial and damages for the plaintiffs' missed work time.

The police department would not comment on the pending litigation.