A man has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence after a viral video was published showing a taxi driver being subjected to a foul-mouthed tirade.
In a minute-long video posted on social media, driver Abid Mustafa coolly handles a white male passenger who rants ‘this is England’, and ‘we’ll blow you out the f****** water’.
The 39-year-old cabbie even warned the man at one stage: ‘I will put this on Facebook now buddy, and more people will see you and what you’re saying.’
But the man, who could be heard apparently slurring his words during footage filmed in Birmingham, responded: ‘I don’t give a flying f*** mate.
‘Do you really think I give a flying f***?’
Abid Mustafa, pictured in his taxi, was subjected to a tirade of racial abuse by a white passenger
West Midlands Police said that a 53-year-old man was arrested in the Erdington area on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.
The victim is being spoken to by officers and the investigation continues, the force added.
Father-of-four Mr Mustafa, who is being made the first honorary ambassador of the West Midlands Taxi Drivers’ Association (WMTDA) for the way he handled the incident, said he had been ‘hurt’ by what happened.
In the last few weeks Mr Mustafa has shuttled vital Covid-19 samples for the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust during the pandemic, before being subject to the passenger’s abuse.
The passenger hurls racist abuse at the taxi driver, who remains calm and doesn’t react as he counts the man’s change
Mr Mustafa said the passenger started his tirade as soon as he was picked up in Birmingham and that he stopped to warn his fare.
‘He promised to stop doing it, then as soon as we got going again, after about 50 metres he started up again,’ said the taxi driver, who began recording at the end of the journey.
He said: ‘I have a heart and emotions and it does hurt.
‘The words do hurt us.
‘But I chose the profession and I have to face these challenges – if I chose to be in the Army I would face battles, and this is the same.’
Mr Mustafa, who lives in Erdington and is licensed by Wolverhampton City Council, hopes footage of the incident, which happened on May 15, will prompt councils to fit CCTV in taxis, to protect drivers and passengers, and show the public what drivers have to put up with.
‘On all other public transport, like trams, buses and trains, there are cameras, so why can’t we have CCTV in cabs?’ he said.
‘At least 80-90% of this type of abuse would stop then.’
Having spoken to colleagues, Mr Mustafa believes every BAME driver in the West Midlands has been subject to racist abuse from a passenger at one point or another.
Echoing that view, Shaz Saleem, of the WMTDA, said it was poor reward for taxi driver key workers, who have done a vital job ferrying supplies, medical samples and other emergency workers during the pandemic.