Cab Owner Complains About Racial Unrest At Airport

Biloxi cab owner Robert Brown said, "I would just like to be able to do business like any other American."

But at a news conference, the Shuttlebug cab owner said that's no longer possible. Brown claimed that discrimination tactics by other cab drivers outside Gulfport Biloxi Regional Airport have all but destroyed his business.  "It's worse for me now than it has ever been," Brown said.  "I feel as thought they're going to kill me."

According to Brown, when his two cabs sit outside the airport's front door, they're often vandalized. And he says he's constantly harassed. In October, Brown met with the airport authority and told them how he's been treated. Brown thinks as many as 10 cab drivers are out to get him.

The Biloxi NAACP is assisting Brown in this case. NAACP leader James Crowell said, "We have a concern that everything is not being done to bring a closure to these allegations."

Airport director Bruce Frallic says that's not true. The FBI, the U-S Attorney and Gulfport police all looked into Brown's allegations. And Frallic says they all concluded the same thing.  According to Frallic, "All the information we have today is that he hasn't been discriminated against."

A fellow African American limousine driver says the discrimination allegations are unfounded.  Dennis Chapman says Brown is not being discriminated against by cab drivers at the airport.  "No he isn't, okay," Chapman said.  "I don't see no accusations whatsoever of racial activities going on."

But Robert Brown does. And he says it's killing his two year old cab business. "They say it's supposed to be an American dream," said Brown.  "It seems like to me it's an American nightmare."

This was the second time this year that the NAACP held a news conference based on a Robert Brown discrimination allegation. In April, Brown complained when Beau Rivage prevented his cabs from parking on its property. In that case the two sides reached a compromise. Brown is now transporting Beau Rivage guests to and from the airport.