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RCMP reopen investigation into racist abuse of Calgary cabbie

WATCH ABOVE: The RCMP have re-opened the case involving a vicious racial attack on a Calgary cabbie, after reports from Global News this week. Global News has learned who the passenger was. The victim of the attack is waiting to see if he is going to be held accountable. Nancy Hixt has the story.

WARNING: This story contains graphic content. Discretion is advised. Global’s Nancy Hixt reports.

CALGARY – Nearly two years after RCMP closed the books on a case of a vicious verbal and racist assault on a Calgary cabbie, RCMP have now reopened their investigation.

A passenger’s verbal attack on 35-year-old Sardar Qayyum, caught on a dashboard-mounted camera, was recently obtained by Global News.

On the tape, Qayyum agrees to stop at a fast food restaurant even though his the passenger’s taxi chit is about to expire, but then the passenger says “You tried to f— me, you tried to f—me.”

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He goes on to say, “you son-of-a-bitch, you f—ing  c—sucker, go back to where are from…” and ”Uh uh, I’m a Paki, mother f—ing Jew…what are you f—ing going to do, strap a bomb to your body, huh?”

At the end of the verbal barrage, the passenger rips the camera out of the cab and Qayyum says he was then physically assaulted: “He punched the camera in my chest and I just opened the car and left.”

READ MORE: Shocking case of racist cabbie abuse in Calgary caught on video

After the assault, Qayyum filed a complaint with police and while the passenger paid for damage to the cab, RCMP decided not to lay charges.

After Global News recently contacted RCMP about the video, a new investigation is underway.

“The file was reviewed by the commanding officer for the Airdrie detachment and he has deemed there were areas that could be followed up on,” said RCMP Cpl. Sharon Franks on Tuesday. “The investigation has been reopened.”

Police now say if there’s enough evidence, there will be charges.

After viewing the video, human rights advocate Darren Lund says the case should be investigated as a hate crime.

“Oh my God, I wish I hadn’t seen that, it’s very disturbing; it’s very difficult to watch,” said Lund. “I mean you can hear hate in those words –  using racist terms that are widely regarded as hateful; there’s every likelihood this is an incident of hatred.”

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Global News has been contacted by dozens of cab drivers who have encountered similar abuse.

Statistics are hard to track: while some cases are reported to police and some to cab companies, others are never reported at all.

The City of Calgary is trying to change racist attitudes with a passenger and driver bill of rights is now posted in all taxis.

“Nobody, no one in this world, should have to put up with that type of violence, disrespect and behavior,” said Marc Halat, Chief License Inspector with the City of Calgary.

That’s exactly the message Qayyum wants to get across to those who feel racist abuse is acceptable.

“Money is nothing for me ,” said Qayyum. “I don’t know, maybe for someone, but nothing for me, absolutely nothing. If someone hurts you, like this racist feeling,  and someone hits you, no!”

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