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Cabbie from Lakers riot gets $10K donation

June 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The taxi driver who was attacked by a mob of Lakers fans following the NBA championship win received a hefty donation Monday. Unruly fans set his cab on fire, leaving him with no source of income.The violence that erupted after Game 7 included assaults on police officers and plenty of property damage.

Some of the most dramatic images came from the corner of Seventh and Flower streets in downtown L.A., where that taxi cab was set on fire.

Monday, the man behind the wheel got a helping hand from the company that hosted the big game.

Standing before television cameras and reporters, Abraham Teferi seemed a reluctant participant in a ceremony aimed at making amends.

The 41-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia has been driving a cab in L.A. for seven years, but on Thursday, the occupational hazards got wildly out of hand.

"I was thinking they can kill me, that's what I was thinking. I was scared. They burned the car, they shake the car, they turned over me," described Teferi.

Teferi was caught in the mayhem that erupted shortly after the Lakers won the NBA Championship. A mob attacked his cab, then pulled him from the driver's seat. After a few minutes, the cab was set on fire, and Teferi watched as it burned. His livelihood was destroyed.

Monday, the CEO of Staples Center's owner Tim Leiweke presented Teferi with a $10,000 check.

"What bothered me was that he didn't bring any of this on. He was just trying to do his job," said Leiweke. "We depend on guys like Abraham for everything that goes on in our district."

Leiweke said the torched taxi is covered by the cab company's insurance. The $10,000 donation from AEG is meant to help Teferi pay his bills until the cab is replaced.

"We feel for what you had to go through that night. On behalf of all the knuckleheads, we apologize," said Leiweke.

As for those aforementioned knuckleheads, the L.A. city attorney's office has filed charges against 10 people for their role in the violence and vandalism from last week.

The charges include inciting a riot, throwing flammable objects and assault. A total of 42 people were arrested.


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