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'I want justice', says taxi man racially abused in his own car

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In these stills from Samuel Johnson’s dashcam video, the passenger can be seen verbally and physically abusing the driver of the taxi

In these stills from Samuel Johnson’s dashcam video, the passenger can be seen verbally and physically abusing the driver of the taxi

In these stills from Samuel Johnson’s dashcam video, the passenger can be seen verbally and physically abusing the driver of the taxi

A taxi driver assaulted and racially abused by a passenger has called for justice to be served and admitted he now fears for his safety.

Samuel Johnson (47) managed to capture footage on his dashcam of the assault inflicted on him by a male passenger on Easter Sunday night in Dublin.

The footage was shared online hundreds of times and led to the passenger, a man who appeared intoxicated, handing himself in to gardai as Twitter users attempted to identify him.

Equality

The Herald understands that the suspect made a statement to gardai but has yet to be formally arrested over the incident.

Mr Johnson, from Nigeria, who's been living in Ireland for 19 years and is an Irish citizen, is concerned justice will not be done, and said it must be enacted to help combat such incidents in future.

The married father said: "I want justice, equality to prevail. That is what I want.

"It's not about being sorry or not sorry. I want equality to prevail."

Mr Johnson said he'd never experienced racism in Ireland previously and referred to the Irish as "nice, welcoming people".

But he felt there were racists everywhere and it was the justice system itself that had to ensure this behaviour was stamped out.

Mr Johnson told the Herald: "We have these types of people all over the world, we have them everywhere, we cannot eliminate them in the system.

"There's nothing we can do but we need justice so we can minimise [the problem] or so it [racism] will be reduced so these people will change and become better people.

"I was really in shock as this has never happened to me before.

"I still remember. I still feel the pain that something like that can happen."

Mr Johnson said he cannot afford to give up his work driving a taxi but is more afraid since the incident.

"Sometimes I'm afraid to work. I'm still working but I'm not really productive," he said.

"I'm driving because I have to pay bills, but I'm being more careful about who I let into the taxi."

Ireland does not have any legislation to prevent hate crimes despite having one of the highest rates of hate crimes in the EU against people of an African background.

The Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) issued a report on this last year entitled The Lifecycle Of A Hate Crime: Country Report For Ireland.

The ICCL said it would not comment on an ongoing case but said there were "significant gaps in Irish law, policy and criminal justice practice around how we respond to the problem of hate crime".

The ICCL strongly feels Ireland needs to introduce legislation on hate crime to protect people.

The footage of the male passenger repeatedly racially abusing the taxi driver and then lashing out and physically striking Mr Johnson caused shockwaves across social media with calls from users for justice.

Mr Johnson said he now believed it should be compulsory for all taxi drivers to have dashcams on board, as an insurance policy against antisocial passengers.

"I want to believe things will change, that with dashcams for taxis everyone will behave themselves - both the taxi driver and passenger.

"The dashcam proved what happened to me, it showed everything.

"I'm only out to work but supposing a passenger has a knife or that I'm attacked and as a result I'm dead - this is not what we'd be talking about today.

"My wife and kids are supporting me.

"The injury is not physical but I feel pain emotionally, inside.

"I just want to get on with my life and be more careful.

"If I suspect any bad behaviour from a passenger I'll refuse to drive and that's it."

Statement

Gardai would not comment on any further updates on the incident.

They reissued a statement provided to media 24 hours earlier, stating: "Gardai in Clontarf are investigating the alleged assault of a taxi driver that occurred at approximately 10pm on the Malahide Road, Donnycarney, on April 21, 2019.

"A suspect in the case has presented themselves at a north Dublin garda station and gardai are following a definite line of inquiry," the statement went on to add.