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Taxi driver fired after alleged anti-Semitic attack on Montreal man

Last Updated Aug 2, 2019 at 12:35 pm MDT

MONTREAL — A Montreal tax driver has lost his job after allegedly punching and choking a Jewish man in a parking lot.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is calling the attack alleged to have occurred Sunday a hate crime.

A security camera video circulating on social media shows a man quickly exiting a taxi and putting his arm around the neck of another man who approached his vehicle.

The two men seem to struggle together before they move behind another car and are obscured from the camera’s view.

CIJA spokesman David Ouellette said the alleged victim was visibly Jewish because he was wearing a kippa, a religious skullcap worn by Jewish men.

Ouellette said the man had asked the driver to move his taxi in order to make room for another vehicle.

According to a police report obtained by The Canadian Press, the alleged victim had taken a photo of the taxi’s licence plate and a vehicle number in order to identify him. He claims the driver began hurling anti-Semitic insults before getting out of the vehicle and punching him several times and choking him.

Ouellette said the man did not suffer serious injuries.

George Boussios, president of Taxi Champlain, said he saw the video for the first time Thursday and “immediately” fired his driver.

“It’s totally unacceptable,” Boussios said in an interview. “We don’t tolerate assaults, anti-Semitism or racism,” noting his company has thrived thanks to Jewish passengers from the neighbourhood of Outremont. “They are our customer base,” he said.

A Montreal police spokesman refused to confirm the incident, but CIJA said police told the organization they were investigating the alleged attack as a hate crime.

The Jewish advocacy group said it was also told by Taxi Champlain that the city’s taxi bureau will revoke the driver’s permit.

The Canadian Press