New York City police have released footage of the moment five teenagers fatally beat a yellow cab driver.
The harrowing video shows how father-of-four Kutin Gyimah, 52, was viciously kicked and punched by the group near the Rockaway Beach neighbourhood in Queens, around 6.20am on Saturday. The NYPD said the suspects took a ride from Mr Gyimah and ran out of the vehicle without paying their fare.
When Mr Gyimah attempted to chase them, he was knocked to the ground by one of the suspects wearing black and yellow sweatpants. He cracked his skull, lost consciousness and was then found lying in the roadway near a playground with trauma to the back of his head.
He was pronounced dead at St John’s Hospital. Two 20-year-old men, one of them identified as Austin Amos, are in police custody, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement on Thursday.
Mr Sewell also said one of the suspects was charged with manslaughter. Police have asked for the public’s assistance in locating three female suspects, ages 13, 15, and 16, who are still on the run.
According to The New York Post, security footage from a nearby shop shows Gyimah chasing after the group of three men and two women after they scrambled out of his car’s back seat
Footage released on Thursday shows Mr Gyimah catching up to them and holding one of them down, before being beaten by the other four. He stood up, then was punched by one of the men and fell backwards.
After the brutal attack on Mr Gyimah, the suspects are seen on surveillance footage from an apartment building climbing the stairs and at times laughing.
On Sunday, the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers announced a $15,000 reward for any information leading to the attackers’ arrest, while a GoFundMe page created for Gyimah’s family by his colleague Spyros Drakos has raised more than $133,00 as of Thursday afternoon.
On his GoFundMe page, Mr Drakos described how Gyimah had continued doggedly ferrying passengers during the pandemic, saying: “This to me is a hero, like the first responders. If a doctor, a nurse, someone, a family member needed to get somewhere, he was driving the cab, and he never stopped.”
“I need justice for my husband because he doesn’t deserve to die this way,” said Gyimah’s widow Abigail Barwuah at a press conference that morning, reportedly weeping as she spoke.
“He didn’t rest throughout the pandemic – he was working. He was a good, good man. He was my backbone.”
Mr Gyimah and Ms Barwuah have four children ages eight, seven, five and three.
Gyimah’s best friend Samuel Ayebi described how he had picked Gyimah up from the airport when he first arrived in the US 18 years ago, before introducing him to the taxi business.
A spokesperson for the city government said: “ This tragedy is not only devastating, but unacceptable.... we extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s family, friends, and coworkers during this painful time and we will work diligently to bring all people responsible to justice.”
Rev Samuel Arhin, a priest at the Ghana United Methodist Church where Gyimah worshipped, called him “a loving and caring gentleman – hardworking”, telling CBS News: “We’ve really lost a dedicated father.”