A Saanich man said he suffered a mild concussion and bruised ribs after a cab driver pushed him to the ground at Tillicum Centre.
Saanich police said they were called to the mall at 4:11 p.m. on Feb. 4 to investigate a call of an assault in progress. Officers located and spoke to both men involved in the incident.
David James Taylor, a Saanich resident, said he had just finished picking up some groceries at Save-On-Foods and was crossing the road when it happened.
“So, I’m walking through because I have the right of way,” said Taylor. “I’m supposed to walk, there’s a stop sign. Cars are supposed to stop, but this individual drove through the stop sign.”
Police said it is believed the pedestrian was about to enter a crosswalk in the mall when a taxi suddenly turned in front of him.
“He was coming so fast, I actually had to jump out of the way or step out of the way really quickly,” Taylor said. “I was afraid I was going to get hit.”
Taylor said he yelled at the taxi, gesturing to the stop sign. The taxi stopped and the driver got out, the two of them yelling back and forth.
Police said the yelling escalated up to where the driver reportedly pushed the pedestrian to the ground.
“[He] opened up the door, grabbed me by my arm, which is extended towards the stop sign,” explained Taylor, “Then lifted me off my feet and threw me backwards.”
Saanich police arrested the cab driver at the scene. He was later released with a promise to appear in court in March. The other man was taken to the hospital by ambulance and released with minor injuries.
“At this point in our investigation, this was simply a matter of disagreement over who had the right of way, which then unfortunately escalated to the driver getting out,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information and communications officer with Saanich police.
However, Taylor said the driver was yelling racial slurs at him, calling him homeless. Taylor believes the driver’s actions were motivated by his identity as an Indigenous person.
“The taxi service, obviously there’s a lack of that knowledge, that education about our people, if you think that all First Nation people are homeless and we’re always looking for money.”
Police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward.
No charges have been sworn in relation to this incident. Police did not name the taxi company.
An earlier version of this article had the wrong date of the incident based on a police release. The article has been updated.