Ottawa police investigate alleged taxi vs. Uber video
'If I see you again, you're dead meat. Go follow the law and get a real job,' man in video says
WARNING: The video above contains profanity.
A video circulating online that claims to show an Ottawa taxi driver threatening an Uber driver and passenger is now the subject of a police investigation.
A Chateau Laurier spokesperson confirmed the hotel handed over security footage taken around 1:30 a.m. ET Saturday that "may have been related" to the video. The video, which appears to have been taken from inside a vehicle, shows a man shouting at the driver.
"If I see you again, you're dead meat. Go follow the law and get a real job. I'm not joking with you," the man tells the driver before holding open the back door and shouting at the passenger.
"Take a real taxi you f---ing cheapskate," he said. Both sides threaten to call police in the profane exchange recorded for one minute and 21 seconds.
Sgt. Fred St. Pierre said Ottawa police launched an investigation after a third party brought the video to their attention.
"We don't have a complainant. That's the issue," he said.
Although the name of an Ottawa taxi driver has been shared on social media in connection with the confrontation, St. Pierre said police have not yet identified anyone involved in the video.
Uber Canada issued a written statement in French to Radio-Canada on Sunday afternoon, calling for an end to intimidation tactics in favour of a constructive dialogue.
Taxi bylaw review underway
This is the latest video in an ongoing dispute that pits Ottawa taxi drivers against Uber drivers, who operate without required licences.
- Ottawa taxi drivers release 2nd video targeting Uber
- Uber blitz after taxi drivers release vigilante-style video
This summer, a group of taxi drivers went undercover as Uber passengers and posted vigilante-style videos of the rides online in an attempt to collect evidence.
Ottawa police and bylaw officers have laid dozens of charges against Uber drivers, resulting so far in more than $20,000 in fines, since the service launched in Ottawa in October 2014. Authorities, along with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, have called on taxi drivers to leave the collection of evidence to them.
Watson compared taxi drivers secretly filming Uber drivers to thugs earlier this summer.
After the latest video began circulating online Saturday, Watson tweeted that he fast-tracked the taxi bylaw review, which started last week.
"These cabbies are hurting the reputation of all by their bullying," Watson wrote in a tweet.
<a href="https://twitter.com/iancapstick">@iancapstick</a>. I agree. That's why we have fast tracked taxi bylaw review. These cabbies are hurting the reputation of all by their bullying—@JimWatsonOttawa
Labour dispute continues
Turmoil in Ottawa's taxi industry is also highlighted by last week's violent protest on the Airport Parkway that led to the arrest of three taxi drivers.
- 3 cab drivers charged after taxi vandalism
- Passenger dodges flying glass as protesters attack cab
- Taxi driver fears for family after cab is vandalized
Airport taxi drivers have been locked out of the airport stand for five weeks in a dispute with their dispatcher, Coventry Connections, over an increase in fees for the exclusive right to pick up at the airport.
Ottawa taxi drivers who continue to pick up at the airport have said they believe their vehicles are being vandalized in retaliation.
On Tuesday, a video posted to YouTube showed protesters smashing the back windshield of a Blueline taxi on the Airport Parkway.
George MacLeod, a businessman from New Brunswick told CBC News he was sitting in the back seat when protesters closed in on his taxi "with big metal bars and started slapping the car." He said he narrowly avoided injury.
Three Ottawa men, aged 54, 60 and 21, were arrested on Thursday and charged with mischief over $5,000 and possession of a dangerous weapon.
with files from CBC News