A possible hate crime took place this weekend in Ville St. Laurent, a borough of Montreal, Quebec, and there appears to be video to prove it.
Aaron (whose name is changed per request), a Jewish man who was visiting his family at the condominium at which he was allegedly assaulted. Security footage captured in the parking lot and posted onto the Bill613.com Facebook page shows the events as they unfold.
According to the post’s description, the footage shows a Champlain Taxi dropping a man off at the doors of the condos, when he then decides to block the garage entrance, stopping Aaron’s vehicle from being able to pass.
“He parked his white car in a spot that wouldn’t block anyone and waited for an outdoor spot to become available. As he waited, he watched as a car driven by a Jewish man wearing a Kippah pulled up behind the taxi and honked.”
This is when the alleged confrontation became hostile. According to Aaron, the driver then shouted, “I won’t move for any f*cking Jews!” demanding that Aaron move his car.
According to Aaron, things got physical once he decided to get out of his vehicle and take a photo of the taxi’s identification number. The driver proceeded to get out of his taxi, where he allegedly started to beat Aaron, shoving him against a car, and punching him in the face and chest.
A nearby woman who was serving as a parking attendant who attempted to intervene was also reportedly struck by the cab driver, who apparently did not stop his attack until another nearby cabbie told him to stop.
“A police report has been filed and a complaint has been lodged with Taxi Champlain,” says the Facebook post. B’nai Brith, a Jewish service organization, has also been notified.
“This is a shocking antisemitic hate crime, in which someone could have been gravely injured or even killed,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada on their website. “Our thanks as a community go out to the good Samaritan who stepped in before this event became even uglier.”
B’nai Brith has reportedly been in contact with Montreal Police Service, who are investigating the incident and contacting Taxi Champlain to gather evidence.
When Champlain Taxi was contacted and a spokesperson was requested for comment on the alleged crime, the operator stated “we don’t know anything about that,” and hung up the phone.
According to the victim’s sister, the cab company was initially very defensive over the phone with the family, initially not complying with their concerns or complaints.
“My brother got out of the car, he would have called and told your company ‘your driver said some very rude words,’ and that would have been it. It was their driver who took it to the physical level. That’s a whole other ball game,” said the victim’s sister over the phone with The Post Millennial.
“The other driver who told him to stop was from Bonjour taxi, a different taxi company.”
She has also stated that the family is currently going through the necessary steps with the company to come to a resolution, as a formal complaint has been filed.
The crime is a sad reflection of the social state of Quebec, as the province continues to struggle with an uptick in anti-Semitic crime.
One spokesperson from the Quebec Immigration Ministry told the CTV the government “strongly denounces every intolerant act or incident of hate speech” and that the government denies any link between the debate on secularism and hate crimes.
Update: Taxi Champlain later issued a statement acknowledging the incident:
First, thank you for taking the time and your concern on the situation that happen [sic] on the 28 of July 2019. We take these unfortunate situations very seriously. As soon as we found out this morning, like the rest of the population, the driver in question was removed from our company. You must understand that drivers are independent workers and are responsible for their behaviour. Drivers are simply associated with taxi companies but of course must follow certain rules and respect. Moreover, the situation that happened was with a driver and with a civilian that had nothing to do with our company. We have been serving the Jewish community for over 40 years and there is no way we will let such a situation end this faithful relationship. We have absolutely no tolerance for such behaviors whatsoever. If the civilian wants to pursue action, he can contact the taxi bureau of Montreal or the police agent who was present who took the report. To confirm the driver is no longer able to work with the taxi bureau of Montreal. The dispute happened with 2 civilians and they should figure things out in private. It has nothing to do with the taxi industry at all. Private disputes should not be made public like this. There was no transport rendered. Taxi Champlain does not condone any aggression, racism or discrimination. Anybody caught is automatically expelled from the company. Our sincere apologies to the Jewish community but the situation have been taken care of. We will continue to proudly serve the Jewish community and all other communities.