San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International AirportiStock

The US Department of Justice filed charges against a San Francisco rideshare driver for assaulting a passenger in an alleged antisemitic attack in October, less than a month after the Hamas massacre in southern Israel.

“The defendant, a rideshare driver, is charged with assaulting a rider because he thought the rider was Jewish or Israeli,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. “No one in this country should live in fear because of how they worship or where they come from. The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who perpetrate hate-fueled violence motivated by antisemitism or by bias of any kind.”

“No one should ever fear being attacked because of their nationality or religion,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “In this case, a rideshare driver assaulted the victim because he perceived them as Jewish or Israeli. The FBI is firmly committed to investigating such bias-motivated acts of violence and holding the perpetrators accountable to keep Americans safe.”

“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,” said U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California. “We will prosecute any ride-share driver who assaults a passenger in such hate-fueled violence.”

According to the indictment, on Oct. 26, 2023, Csaba John Csukás, 39, struck the victim in the face while at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) because Csukás thought the victim was Jewish or Israeli. Csukás worked as a driver for an app-based rideshare company and was hired to drive the victim home from the airport. The indictment further alleges that when Csukás arrived at the pickup location, Csukás asked the victim if he was Jewish or Israeli, stated that he would not transport a Jewish or Israeli person, and attacked the victim by striking him in the face with his fist.

Csukás was charged with committing a federal hate crime, including causing bodily injury because of the actual or perceived religion or national origin of a person in circumstances affecting interstate commerce.

Csukás faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the hate crime charge.