update deskU.S. News

Former California rideshare driver charged with anti-Jewish assault

"The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who perpetrate hate-fueled violence motivated by antisemitism or by bias of any kind," said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

FBI logo. Credit: Dzelat/Shutterstock.
FBI logo. Credit: Dzelat/Shutterstock.

The U.S. Justice Department unsealed an indictment on Wednesday alleging that the former rideshare driver Csaba John Csukás, 38, assaulted a person he perceived to be Jewish or Israeli.

Per a Justice Department release, Csukás was to pick the victim up from San Francisco International Airport on Oct. 26 and drive the victim home. Csukás allegedly asked if the victim was Jewish or Israeli, said that he wouldn’t drive a Jew or Israeli and then punched the victim in the face.

“No one in this country should live in fear because of how they worship or where they come from,” stated U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who perpetrate hate-fueled violence motivated by antisemitism or by bias of any kind.”

Ismail Ramsey, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, added that his office “will prosecute any ride-share driver who assaults a passenger in such hate-fueled violence.”

“When taking public transportation—whether a taxi, bus or rideshare—customers should be able to ride without being profiled, or worse yet attacked, because of their nationality or religion by drivers,” Ramsey said.

Csukás was arrested on March 12 and first appeared on Wednesday in court, where he was charged with a federal hate crime “which prohibits, among other things, causing bodily injury because of the actual or perceived religion or national origin of a person in circumstances affecting interstate commerce,” per the Justice Department.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the hate crime charge.

J. The Jewish News of Northern California reported that Csukás was a Lyft driver. “The victim is a tech worker and San Jose resident who asked J. not to name him out of concern for his safety,” the paper reported. “He was taken to the hospital the day of the attack, where he was treated for minor injuries.”

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