Calgary cab passenger who hurled insults at driver and allegedly assaulted him no longer with last-known employer

Article originally appeared in: Calgary Sun

BY Bryan Passifiume & Bill Kaufmann

The Calgary criminal lawyer for a man who verbally and physically attacked a city cabbie two years ago said his client offered an apology and paid compensation.

And he claims that charges were laid by police for the videotaped assault but later dropped due to lack of evidence.

While declining to confirm the identity of the man seen on the video berating cabbie Sardar Qayyum in a prolonged and expletive-laced diatribe, Calgary lawyer Greg Dunn did confirm to the Sun he’s been retained by him as counsel.

“This is really a storm that’s been brewed up by social media,” Dunn said.

“These are people who making comments who really don’t know the facts of this particular case and what transpired.”

Mere days after the November 2013 Calgary to Airdrie cab ride in which he was videotaped hurling racist insults towards Qayyum, the lawyer said remorse prompted his client to approach the taxi company — apology and chequebook in hand.

“The cab driver refused to receive the written apology,” Dunn said, as was his offer, through the RCMP, to offer a face-to-face apology.

Qayyum, a Canadian citizen born in Pakistan, has also alleged the fare ripped the video camera from its mount and struck him in the chest with it.

Dunn said his client offered up close to $10,000 to cover both damages and a week’s wages to the victim.

“His money was accepted, but his apologies weren’t,” Dunn said.

Mounties said they’re investigating the force’s decision not to follow up the case when it was reported in late 2013 and made no mention of previous charges to the Sun.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that he was actually charged,” Dunn said, saying his client faced assault with a weapon and mischief charges.

“Those charges were not pursued by the police, and eventually were simply dropped on the basis that they did not feel there was enough evidence to substantiate those charges.”

Cpl. Sharon Franks said the investigation will find out why, and if further charges, including possible hate crimes, are warranted.

“I’ve also viewed the video which is less than desirable in how someone was treated.”

While Dunn declined to comment on reports his client’s actions cost him his job, an Internet post by Calgary’s Alcro Electric stated the man’s conduct doesn’t represent the company and “the employee involved is no longer with” them.

In the video, the apparently drunken man tells Qayyum to “go back to where you’re from, take your wife and four kids.”

He also asks the cabbie if he’s “going to strap a bomb to your body ... how can you sleep at night, do you just think about bombs blowing s---up?”

The Sun has been unable to reach Qayyum for comment.