Washington has found its very own John Quinones.

Tonight, WUSA9 is airing Investigative Reporter Russ Ptacek‘s ambush-style story on cab drivers who decline to drive black customers to the Southeast area.

In a preview of the report, two WUSA9 male staffers, one black, one white, attempt to hail cabs that will drive them to Alabama Ave. in Southeast. The black subject is turned down.┬áThe driver’s reason: The last time he took someone Southeast, he was stiffed. Less than a block up the street, the white subject asks the same driver to be taken to roughly the same area. The driver agrees.

That’s when a calm and cool Ptacek enters the frame wearing a black suit, shoving a handheld mic through the passenger window to ask the driver why he didn’t pick up the black man. After some awkward back-and-forth, the driver, in a thick accent, tells Ptacek that he didn’t even notice the white guy was actually white. “You didn’t see that he was white?” Ptacek asks incredulously. (Sounds like another investigative piece: How many blind cab drivers are really working the streets?)

We asked Ptacek about ambushing cabbies… Read more