SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- Police are asking for the public's help in identifying four passengers who earlier this month attacked and robbed a city cab driver by Tasing him.
The driver, whose identity was not released, was not seriously hurt during the attack but officials said they fear the incident could impact San Francisco's commercial transportation business if similar attacks occur again.
Authorities said the incident occurred around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and was captured on the vehicle's dashboard camera. The driver's cell phone, wallet and backpack were taken during the incident, police said.
The video footage shows the two men and two women laughing, smiling and talking to their taxi cab driver after the passengers directed the driver to ferry them from Market and Mason streets to the city's Bayview neighborhood.
"One of the suspects asked if it would be OK if he could go to the top of Potrero Hill in the back, where it's Texas Fire Road and the driver complied," Officer Carlos Manfredi said.
Texas Road is a narrow stretch that runs parallel to Interstate 280 and turns into a dead-end street. Police say the suspects told him to wait inside the car while they ran inside to get the $50 cab fare. One of them gave the cab driver his cell phone as collateral.
Surveillance footage shows the suspects running into a nearby unit but officers say they couldn't tell which apartment it was.
"A few minutes later you see the suspect come back and (the driver) gets Tased directly in the neck," Manfredi said. "You can see the driver literally jump from the driver's side to the passenger side to escape from this Taser."
The video shows a second suspect opening the passenger door before punching the driver, who was eventually able to run from the scene. Police described the suspects as four African Americans in their 20s,
Officer Brandon Thompson is the beat patrol officer for the area but said he did not recognize the suspects.
"We don't know if they lived here (because) there's vacant units in almost each building," Thompson said, adding that transients tend to live in some of the empty apartment units in the area although the city is trying to crack down on the problem.
"There's been a lot of things -- from narcotics arrests to guns and different parole violations and things like that, all regarding vacant units," Thompson said.
Officers say more cameras are slated be installed in the Potrero Hill neighborhood to help curb criminal activity.
Said Manfredi: "The last thing we want to do is make it feel unsafe for our cab drivers or other drivers out there for Uber and Lyft, (so) they feel like they might be attacked or assaulted."
by KTVU reporter Tara Moriarty.