NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City cab driver insisted Friday that it is his right, hands down, to wear a Nazi armband – even if the Taxi and Limousine Commission says otherwise.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Friday evening, Gabriel Diaz, 26, spoke outside of his family’s home in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx, after he was suspended for wearing a swastika while driving the cab.
“I am. I’m a National Socialist – what you guys call a Nazi. I am. I’m a believer of it,” Diaz said.
Watch Lou Young’s Full Interview With Cab Driver Gabriel Diaz Below:
Diaz was suspended for wearing the armband while driving his cab.
Not just once, but multiple times, photos sent to the Anti-Defamation League and to the Taxi and Limousine Commission sparked an investigation.
Diaz told Young he knew the symbol would offend some people, but denied being anti-Semitic.
“I don’t hate Jews. I’m critical of them, but I don’t hate them. That doesn’t mean that I’m anti-Semitic. That don’t make me a hater,” Diaz said. “Who says you have to be white to be a National Socialist? You don’t have to be white, it can be anybody.”
When Young asked Diaz whether he knew 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, Diaz replied, “I have no comment on that right now.”
There is no indication that Diaz discussed National Socialism with his fares. He wore the symbol on his forearm where it mostly offended passersby.
It is not illegal to wear a swastika in public, but it is against TLC rules to wear one while driving a New York City cab.
“The TLC responded right away when we came to them,” said Evan Bernstein of the Anti-Defamation League. “Their course of action, we felt, was really appropriate and expedient.”
The course is a 30-day suspension of his hack license for “acting against the best interests of the public.”
“Hopefully, he realizes this is wrong,” Bernstein said. “Hopefully, he learns from this mistake.”
When asked if he was sorry, Diaz said: “It pains me that I have to apologize. You know, it pains me. I don’t want to apologize,” before going on to make remarks about gays and Muslims.
If and when he returns to a New York City taxi, Diaz has promised to leave the Nazi armband at home.
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