Fernando Mateo, head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and of advocacy group Hispanics Across America, has come under fire for telling cab drivers they should use racial profiling when considering African-American and Latino passengers, Reuters reported. According to news reports, Mateo told the drivers racial profiling may help prevent an attack similar to the one suffered by Trevor Bell, 53, who was shot repeatedly by a man police describe as Latino.

“Racial profiling addresses a controversial reality that the people committing most of the crimes against drivers are Hispanics and Blacks,” said Mateo, who was born in the Dominican Republic and identifies as Black and Hispanic.

“It’s very hard to admit the truth when the truth affects your own community. What I’m trying to do is expose a very serious problem that we have been facing as a community for a very long time.”

Meanwhile, David Yassky, head of New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, blasted Mateo’s remarks, calling them “illegal, downright wrong and simply unacceptable.”