All charges were withdrawn against two of the three juveniles who were accused of assaulting a cabbie and his passenger in Center City this January and the third teen was given probation after pleading guilty to a single count of simple assault this morning.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Goldman said after a "very thorough investigation" it was determined that two of the teens who were charged took no part in the assault. The third teen hit the passenger with an open hand through the window of the cab after the two exchanged words, he said. The cab driver was assaulted by a teen who remains unidentified.
According to Goldman, the young man who pleaded guilty and two other kids were at a bus stop at 15th and Chestnut streets around 8:30 p.m. Jan. 28 when the cab stopped at the intersection with Brian Goldman, a University of Pennsylvania senior who is no relation to the prosecutor, inside. Through the open windows of the cab one of the teens said something in a joking manner to Goldman, like "Can we get in with you?"
Goldman, the passenger, responded in a more "serious" tone, something to the affect of "Well, that's why I'm in the cab and you're not in the cab," said Goldman, the prosecutor.
The 17-year-old who was charged felt insulted and reach in the cab and smacked Goldman's cheek, according to prosecutors. Goldman got out of the cab and the driver, feeling like his passenger had been assaulted, went to the trunk to get a tire iron. The driver was struck in the right eye from behind by an unidentified member of a group of people who had gathered at the scene, according to prosecutors.
Earlier assertions that the teens had shouted racial epithets during the attack have not been substantiated.
Judge Kevin Dougherty sentenced the 17-year-old to probation, ordered drug testing every other week and gave him a 7 p.m. curfew. He also ordered the boy, who has repeatedely skipped or been late to school, to attend class and remain on home monitoring.
"From here on out, the decisions belong to you but the consequences of your decisions belong to me," Dougherty said. "Now we're going to make you a man."