Toronto Uber driver charged with kidnapping 18-year-old passenger

An 18-year-old woman was able to escape after Uber driver allegedly refused to let her out of car

By Trevor Dunn, CBC News 

Posted: May 23, 2017 11:35 AM ET  

A 24-year-old Uber driver has been charged with kidnapping one of his passengers.

According to Toronto police, an 18-year-old woman arranged for an Uber ride on Sunday around 4:00 p.m near Eglinton Avenue East and Dunfield Avenue in the Yonge-Eglinton area.

The passenger told police the driver engaged in inappropriate conversation and made "unwanted advances."

When the woman refused and asked to be let out of the car — a Nissan Altima — police said the Uber driver refused and attempted to forcibly take her to another location.

The woman was able to escape and called police.

Toronto police charged the Uber driver Sukhbaj Singh, who is from Belleville, Ont., with forcible confinement, kidnapping and assault, on Monday.

Singh has been released on bail and is due back in court in early July.

Driver immediately removed

Uber called the allegations "unacceptable" and something that is "not tolerated on the Uber app."

The company was contacted by Toronto police on Sunday, shortly after the incident was reported.

"We immediately removed this driver's access following this report and will provide any information to law enforcement that would be helpful for their investigation," an Uber spokesperson said in an email.


    Warrant issued for Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting passenger near UC Riverside

    by BRIAN ROKOS | | The Press-Enterprise

    PUBLISHED: May 23, 2017 at 11:43 am | UPDATED: May 24, 2017 at 7:16 am

    A warrant was issued Tuesday afternoon, May 23, for the arrest of an Uber driver who UC Riverside police say sexually assaulted a female passenger near the UCR campus.

    Jamaal Andrew Lee, 41, of Moreno Valley will face three felony charges when he is arrested, according to Riverside County Superior Court records: oral copulation by force or violence, assault with the intent to rape and false imprisonment.

    Lee may be driving a white 2004 Ford Explorer with California license plate 6AOG427, UCR police said in a news release. Anyone who sees Lee is urged to call police.

    In the wake of the attack, university officials are encouraging students who use ride-hailing services such as Uber to do so in groups.

    The woman, who lives in a UCR apartment complex near campus, reported the assault at 2:47 a.m. May 14, according to a crime alert posted to the UCR Police Department website.

    “UCPD suggests the following strategies when using these types of transportation services: When possible, utilize the service as a group. Let a trusted friend know where you are going and when you expect to return,” officials wrote in the alert.

    The assault happened despite safety precautions that Uber says it takes, including conducting criminal background checks on its drivers and tracking drivers’ trips with GPS.

    Uber spokesman Andrew Hasbun said Lee has been banned from working for the company.

    “What the rider reported is appalling,” Hasbun said in an email.

    Uber is one of several services in which freelance drivers set their own schedules and respond to requests for rides made through a smartphone app. These ride-sharing services face fewer regulations than traditional taxi companies.

    UCR is among the top Inland destinations for Uber and competitor Lyft, according to lists supplied by the companies. Riverside City College also is high on the lists.

    The alleged victim in this month’s assault had arranged for a ride from an off-campus location to the UCR Plaza Apartments at 1020 N. Linden St., said the UCR statement. Police did not say where the assault took place.

    “Once it was reported to us, UCPD issued a timely warning to the campus community detailing this incident. UCPD investigators have contacted Uber, who is cooperating with our requests for information on this driver,” the statement said.

    How Uber screens drivers

    Uber contracts with a third party to conduct criminal background checks on driver applicants, who are required to furnish their full name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number and a copy of their driver’s license.

    Applicants are ineligible to become Uber drivers if they have had more than three minor moving violations in the previous three years; have driven on a suspended or revoked license in the past three years; or had a conviction for driving under the influence or any felony, violent crime, sex offense or child abuse or endangerment in the past seven years.

    Taxi companies, competitors of the ride-hailing services, say that’s not going far enough.

    Would-be taxi drivers in California, unlike ride-hailing applicants, must be fingerprinted during background checks. Those prints, the taxi companies said in a lawsuit, make it easier to determine criminal records of applicants who lie about their names and backgrounds.

    Uber officials have countered that their background checks are reliable.

    The lawsuit, filed on behalf of California taxi companies in 2015 and dismissed at their request in April 2017, accused Uber of false advertising for saying its rides are “safer than a taxi.”

    Rider safety

    Uber’s website describes how it believes the service’s technology helps keep riders safe.

    When a driver accepts a request for a ride, the rider sees the driver’s first name, rating, photo and license plate number on the Uber phone app. That information can be checked against the driver who shows up. The app also will show the route, and the trips are tracked using GPS.

    The website acknowledges some shortcomings.

    Accidents and incidents will always happen. And when it comes to screening, every system has its flaws. That’s partly because past behavior may not accurately predict how people will behave in the future, but also due to the fact that no system in the U.S has a one hundred percent accurate record of the past,” Uber’s website says.

    Woman claims she was robbed by Uber driver and accomplice

    Tuesday, 23 May 2017 | MYT 11:40 AM


    SERDANG: A woman's ride home was not as safe as she thought it would have been when she was mugged by her Uber driver and another passenger on Monday night.

    The 26-year-old booked her ride home to Puchong Jaya from Mid Valley through Uber, and claimed that there was another man sitting in the front passenger seat when she got into the vehicle at around 9.30pm Monday.

    She said when they arrived at One Puchong business centre, the passenger pointed a knife at her and forced her to hand over her valuables.

    After robbing her, the suspects left the victim by the side of the road where she was found by a passer-by who drove her to the police station to lodge a report.

    The passer-by also related the woman's ordeal on Facebook and said that she was terrified and in tears when he approached her.

    Serdang Deputy OCPD Supt Lee Wai Leong confirmed the incident.

    "We have obtained information on the suspect and driver and are tracing them," he said.

    Uber said it was unable to comment on the case as it was an ongoing investigation.

    "We are cooperating with the authorities in their investigation and would like to assure the public that Uber takes safety very seriously," it said.

    14-year-old girl raped by Uber driver in Osceola County, deputies say

    WESHPublished: May 12, 2017, 12:20 pm

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (WESH)—A 14-year-old girl was sexually battered by an Uber driver in Osceola County, deputies said.

    The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said the girl requested an Uber driver to pick her up Wednesday in Kissimmee. The driver, David Pena-Melo, of Kissimmee, picked up the girl and asked her to sit in the front seat, deputies said.

    The girl told deputies that Pena-Melo began to make sexual advances during the ride and then drove past the requested destination.

    Pena-Melo pulled over on the side of a road near a wooded area and forced the girl to perform a sex act, deputies said.

    Detectives said they met with Pena-Melo on Thursday and arrested him on a charge of sexual battery on a person older than 12, but younger than 18.

    Florida Uber driver arrested for kidnapping, rape

    POSTED:MAY 09 2017 12:24PM CDT

    JUPITER, Fla. - Police in Jupiter have arrested an Uber driver who is accused of kidnapping a passenger and sexually assaulting her.

    Police say the woman was picked up by Gary Kitchings, 55, just after 12:30 a.m. May 7th from Sun Fest in downtown West Palm Beach.

    On the drive to her home, the police report says he began to flirt with the woman, then when she tried to jump out of the car, he threatened her by saying he had a gun and that if she didn't do what he wanted, he would kill her.

    He sexually assaulted her in the car, police say, and after she got home and tried to run inside, he grabbed her and pushed her inside her house, the police report says, where he sexually assaulted her again.

    The victim told police she thought she saw a gun under his shirt but he never displayed one.

    He eventually left, saying he would come back and kill her if she told anyone, so she locked her bedroom door, hid in the closet, and called 911, the police report says.

    Police say the victim had the suspect's license plate number and he was arrested and charged with kidnapping, sexual battery with a deadly weapon, and burglary.

    Police say Kitchings lived and worked at the Kid Sanctuary Campus, a non-profit home for neglected and abused children.

    The facility told WPBF he has been placed on leave pending the outcome of criminal proceedings, and Uber said the driver has been removed from the app.

    Bicyclist claims Uber driver stopped car to assault him

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- A cyclist says he was bloodied and beaten by an Uber driver.

    “Really surprising,” said Paul Jeffery.

    Jeffery says he was riding his bike along Southeast Salmon Street, near Sunnyside School, when he heard the revving of an engine coming from behind him. Jeffery said a car with an Uber sticker sped by him. 

    “I call out to him, ‘you’re going too fast,’” said Jeffery.

    Jeffery says the driver pulled over and got out of his car. According to Jeffery, the man threw him against a parked car and punched him at least four or five times.

    “I was freaked out,” said Jeffery. “There is no way I could’ve provoked him to do that kind of thing.”

    Jeffery believes the Uber driver was off duty at the time of the incident. A spokesman for the company says they take allegations like this seriously and they are looking in to the case. Detectives with the Portland Police Bureau are investigating, too.

    “We’re all humans trying to share a public space,” added Jeffery.

    UK student reports sexual assault by Uber driver; company bans him



    A student reported Thursday that an Uber driver who was to drive her back to her dorm made unwanted sexual advances, according to University of Kentucky Police.

    The student said she left a business near Woodland and Euclid avenues and got into the car about 12:50 a.m. Wednesday, according to UK police. Rather than take her to her dorm, the driver reportedly went to parking structure No. 2 on Hilltop Avenue.

    In the parking garage, near William T. Young Library, the driver touched her over her clothes and kissed her, according to police.

    “What’s been described is upsetting and is not tolerated on the Uber app,” Uber representative Kayla Whaling said. “We have removed this driver’s access and will assist law enforcement in their investigation.”

    Whaling said the driver didn’t have other allegations against him and that he went through the company’s background check process, conducted by Checkr. Whaling declined to say how long the driver had worked for Uber, but she said that information had been passed along to police.

    The student was later dropped off at her dorm, and police were called at 4 p.m. Wednesday, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said. The student sought medical attention but had no major injuries.

    Investigators were in contact with the driver after 4 a.m.,, Monroe said. Since then, UK police had heard from two other female students who had said an Uber driver matching that description had “acted strange in his behavior (and) caused them alarm,” Monroe said.

    The driver was described as a white man about 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police. He’s thought to be about 33 years old.

    The car was a red four-door Chevrolet Spark, according to police.

    Read more here:


    Uber driver charged with raping female passenger- California


    By Reuters

    April 26, 2017 | 9:39pm

    An Uber driver accused by prosecutors of having sexually assaulted a female passenger after she sought a ride home from a gathering in the upscale seaside city of Newport Beach, California, was charged with rape on Wednesday.

    Angel Sanchez, 36, was arrested a day after the March 30 attack, which took place on a street near the woman’s home in Santa Ana, California. The victim in the case was not identified by authorities.

    Sanchez, who is scheduled for an initial court appearance in the case next week, faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison if convicted.

    Representatives for Uber could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

    Prosecutors say the woman had been attending a company gathering in Newport Beach and her colleagues requested an Uber ride to take her home. They added Sanchez drove the victim to Santa Ana before sexually assaulting her.

    Following the attack, the woman ran from Sanchez’ minivan and immediately called 911, prosecutors said.

    8,000 Uber, Lyft Drivers Fail Massachusetts Background Check

    By Rakesh Sharma | April 6, 2017 — 4:44 PM EDT

    About 11.5 percent (or, 8,206 of the total 71,000) of drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft who passed background checks conducted by the ride-sharing apps have been barred from driving for the services after they failed a state government criminal and driving records check in Massachusetts.

    Of the drivers, 403 had serious offenses such as violence or sexual assaults on their records. The remaining had driving-related infractions, such as speeding tickets or driving under the influence. Drivers whose cases had been dismissed without convictions were also barred from driving for ride-sharing apps. (See also: The Story of Uber.)

    A key point to consider regarding the disqualification is the time period under scrutiny. Uber and Lyft both said the law stipulates that they restrict background checks to just seven years, and that is why the companies were unable to uncover the drivers' past histories. State government agencies peruse longer time spans for serious offenses.

    Uber represented the state government's longer time period as a loss of "access to economic opportunities" due to an "unfair and unjust indefinite lookback period." It also stated that this was an opportunity to repair the current system. However, the Mayor of Everett, a town in Massachusetts where two sexual assault cases involving Uber drivers were reported, said the release of state records showed that there was a need for government regulations for such services. (See also: Key Differences Between Uber and Lyft.)

    While there have been no reported cases of sexual assault for Lyft, Uber has been the subject of multiple lawsuits by women who have been sexually assaulted or raped by their drivers. Last year, the company also paid $28.5 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit brought by six men who claimed that Uber was misleading riders by claiming to provide an "industry-leading background check."

    The latest news is sure to add pressure on ride-sharing apps to add more comprehensive background checks. Otherwise, they might find their market share being taken away by niche apps. For example, Safr, an Uber for women, was released recently to serve Boston and surrounding areas. (See also: Safr Is an Uber for Women.)

    Read more: 8,000 Uber, Lyft Drivers Fail Massachusetts Background Check | Investopedia 
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    Prosecutor: Boston Uber Driver Used Fake Name, Raped Passenger


    April 26, 2017 Updated 2017-04-26 10:47:05

    A Boston man who drove for ride-hailing company Uber has been charged with raping a female passenger.

    Prosecutors say 34-year-old Luis Baez used the fake name "Valentin" when he picked up a woman in Boston last September, drove her to a location other than where she requested and assaulted her. Uber confirmed Baez drove under an account with a false name.

    Authorities say Baez then drove the woman to Boston College and dropped her off. She reported the alleged assault to campus police. Prosecutors did not say whether she was a student there.

    Police tracked the suspect from information stored in the woman's Uber app. Baez was known to police, according to a release from the Middlesex County district attorney's office.

    The suspect was released on $2,500 bail after pleading not guilty to three counts of rape on Tuesday. He was also ordered to stay away from Boston College's campus, the release said.

    Uber called the charges "a horrible crime" and said it is cooperating with investigators. The company also said the suspect's Uber account was suspended indefinitely since Sept. 29 when prosecutors say the alleged assault occurred. Baez drove for the ride-hailing service for less than a month prior to that date, according to Uber.

    Earlier this month, results for the first round of state background checks for ride-hailing drivers under a law passed in 2016 were released. Of 70,789 drivers who applied through one or more companies, the state denied 8,206 applications.

    Uber tried to fool Apple and got caught

    Uber geofenced Apple’s Cupertino headquarters to hide that it was tracking iPhones

    by Andrew Liptak@AndrewLiptak  Apr 23, 2017, 6:31pm EDT

    Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened to have Uber’s iPhone app removed from the App Store in 2015, when it learned that the ride-sharing company had secretly found a way to identify individual iPhones, even once the app was deleted from the phoneaccording to The New York Times.

    The article is a wide-ranging profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, describing him as a leader who is willing to break and bend rules to get his way, even if it means running afoul of one of the world’s largest tech firms. The attitude has led to Uber’s rapid rise, but has caused the company to run into numerous crises. The article describes how Uber faced problems with account fraud while it was trying to expand into China, and devised a way to identify an individual iPhone, even after its app had been deleted from the phone, or if the phone had been reset.


    The practice, called fingerprinting, is prohibited by Apple. To prevent the company from discovering the practice, Uber geofenced Apple headquarters in Cupertino, changing its code so that it would be hidden from Apple Employees. Despite their efforts, Apple discovered the activity, which led to the meeting between the two CEOs, in which Cook told Kalanick to end the practice. If Uber didn’t comply, Cook told him, Uber’s app would be removed from the App Store, a move that would be a huge blow to the ride-sharing company. According to the article, “Mr. Kalanick was shaken by Mr. Cook’s scolding, according to a person who saw him after the meeting,” and ended the practice.

    Uber has faced backlash on numerous fronts in recent months, following revelations that the company has used secret programs to evade government regulators and to track rival driverstracked customers without permission, and is being sued for allegedy stealing proprietary information regarding self-driving cars from Alphabet’s Waymo. The company has also faced criticism for its toxic workplace culture following a blog post from a former engineer, and company trips to a South Korean escort bar. This latest revelation adds to the mounting PR problem that the company faces, due in part to the leadership style of its CEO.

    Update: an Uber spokesperson issued a statement to The Verge, :

    “We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app. As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users' accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”


    April 14, 2017  

    This week the news arrived that Massachusetts and Maryland have rejected thousands of already approved Uber and Lyft drivers.

    51 applications from sex offenders. That’s how many Massachusetts found driving for Uber and Lyft.  Here are the other reasons applications were rejected:

    • 352 for criminal-history incidents related to “sex, abuse, and exploitation,”
    • 958 for violent crimes,
    • 152 for operating under the influence.

    In a follow-up Boston Globe article on how other states may be considering more stringent background checks, Lyft spokesman, Adrian Durbin made this point: “It would be a mistake to prevent good and qualified drivers around the country from earning needed income as a result of one state’s rule-making.”

    We wholeheartedly disagree.

    Massachusetts recent findings offer incontrovertible, bulletproof data that law enforcement and governments should be background-checking Uber and Lyft drivers. The sampling was enormous: 70,789 applications. The reviewer—the state of Massachusetts—is unassailable.

    In fact, we believe Massachusetts would have found more bad apples had law enforcement been able to use the gold standard of criminal background checks: fingerprints.

    It would be the most reasonable move in the world for other states and cities to emulate Massachusetts supplemental background checks of Uber and Lyft drivers. And to further bolster the effectiveness of government checks by using fingerprinting.

    Uber loves to hide data, produce questionable data, and diminish the value of data which is critical of its processes. But Uber and Lyft will be hard-pressed to deny the value of Massachusetts’ findings.

    Besides, it’s not just one state.

    Maryland’s supplemental background checks have rejected 2,850 applications for criminal offenses or driving-related issues.


    If you multiply Massachusetts’ and Maryland’s rejected applications by the number of states allowing Uber and Lyft to conduct their own background checks, it begins to explain why our site lists 217 reported sexual assaults and harassments against Uber and Lyft drivers.


    Uber Faces $1.1 Million Fine Over Drunk Drivers

    Jeff John Roberts

    Apr 13, 2017


    Uber is facing yet another controversy. This time regulators are claiming the company ignored reports about drivers who are under the influence, and frequently allowed drivers facing multiple complaints to keep picking up passengers.

    In a complaint published on Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission of California says it reviewed 154 "zero tolerance" complaints about Uber drivers between August 12, 2014 and August 31, 2015—and that the company only conducted any sort of investigation in 21 of those cases.

    The regulator also found Uber attempted to contact the driver in only 50 of those cases and that, in at least 25 cases, the company failed to suspend or investigate drivers facing three or more complaints. And in multiple situations, data reportedly showed that drivers cited for impaired driving stayed on the road picking up Uber customers—even when the company had technically suspended them.

    As a result of the investigation, Uber faces a fine of $7,500 for 151 separate violations for a total of $1,132,500. The company has 10 days to file a response to the regulator's findings.

    Uber declined to offer a formal comment. But a source close to the company noted the period in question was 2014 and 2015, and said the company has since improved its compliance and record-keeping. The source also pointed to guidelines saying Uber has zero tolerance for impaired driving.

    Under California law, ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are exempt from a random drug and alcohol screening program imposed on other commercial driving operations—provided the companies implement a series of "zero tolerance" measures to take action on impaired drivers.

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    The zero tolerance measures include providing customers with a way to flag drivers under the influence (including phone an in-app contacts) and promptly investigating drivers who are the subject of complaints.

    According to the regulators' report, Uber's system didn't provide a way to promptly flag impaired drivers, but instead lumped such warnings in with general complaints. The report also concluded all four of Uber's methods for confirming a complaint— including a driver's admission and video evidence—to be "problematic" and two of them to be totally unrealistic:

    [Uber]’s second option to receive an arrest/conviction requires a police officer to be present and pull over the driver. And Option 3, the alcohol blood test, similarly relies on a third party to conduct the test and provide the results to [Uber]. Both Options 2 and 3 contradict [Uber]’s own practices, as [Uber] does not attempt to obtain any physical evidence in its zero tolerance investigations

    Finally, the report, spotted by SF Gate, suggests that reports of impaired driving by ride-hailing companies are widespread in California. While the regulator appeared to review only 154 of the Uber complaints, it states the company received a total of 2,074 complaints during the one-year period in question.

    The controversy comes as Uber seeks a COO to help its embattled CEO, Travis Kalanick, address what many regard as a problematic "bro culture" at the company.

    Uber Driver ‘Jay Ram’ Molests His Sleeping Female Passenger Went Viral

    by JAY NELZ on APRIL 8, 2017

    The photo of an Uber driver named Jay Ram molesting his sleeping female passenger went viral after it was posted in the social media.

    Numerous complaints regarding Uber incidents were now making rounds in the social media. Some Uber driver were receiving praises and adorations from netizens, because of their good deeds. While some of them were being criticized by social media users due to their wrong behavior.

    Previously, a netizen named Myla Tuazon has posted a warning to all female passengers against Uber driver named Jay Ram, who posted a photo while molesting his sleeping passenger. The photo shows that the driver was grabbing the breast of his female passenger.

    Jay Ram’s post draws flak from netizens due to his wrong behavior towards the alleged drunk passenger sleeping on the front seat of the vehicle. The nature of the pervert driver frightened and raised the concerns of female netizens. Tuazon also urged the female riders to be more aware when riding on Uber.

    The Uber driver was found working at Concentrix Daksh Services Philippines Corporation and living in Caloocan, based on the information in his Facebook account.

    Jay deactivated his social media account after being bashed by the netizens. Myla also deleted her post on her Facebook account after receiving flood messages and notifications from netizens due to curiosity.

    Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting passenger turns himself in to police

    News 5 Staff

    9:10 PM, Apr 11, 2017

    AKRON, Ohio - An Uber driver who is accused of sexually assaulting one of his passengers turned himself into the Summit County Jail on Wednesday morning.

    Brandon Franklin, 33 of Tallmadge is accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated driver after giving her a ride home. 

    The woman told Akron police that she woke up in her room to discover Franklin was sexually assaulting her.

    Franklin fled the room after the victim pushed him away.

    Akron police signed a sexual battery warrant for Franklin’s arrest Tuesday. According to police records, Franklin has multiple driving offenses that date back to as early as 2005.

    Fake Uber Driver Arrested After Brutal Sexual Assault of Passenger in Westlake: LAPD


    A man who pretended to be an Uber driver and brutally sexually assaulted a female passenger, prompting police to shoot at him, has been arrested less than a week after the violent attack in the Westlake area, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.

    Police respond to a report of a woman screaming inside a vehicle April 3, 2016, in Westlake. (Credit: Loudlabs)

    Dartanyum Larmar Smith, 39, was arrested at a South Los Angeles home on suspicion of kidnapping early Saturday morning.

    The incident began about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, April 3, when LAPD received a call about a woman screaming from inside an SUV in the area of 1300 block of Ingraham Street.

    Officers did not have the exact address when responding and began searching parked cars along dark streets for the assault, Beck said at morning news conference.

    As they drive by … they hear the screams. They can see the assault going on in the back seat of this SUV," Beck said.

    The officers tried to get into the vehicle, but it was locked. When they began smashing the windows, the attacker jumped into the driver’s seat and began accelerating away.

    Glass remained at the scene where LAPD officers smashed the window of a vehicle in which a sex assault was taking place in Westlake on April 3, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

    Smith allegedly accelerated toward officers, one of whom was struck by the SUV's door. One officer fired a single shot that didn’t strike the driver, Beck said.

    As the SUV sped away, with the female victim still inside, the officers called for backup and jumped into their patrol vehicle to follow.

    About four blocks away, after a frantic search, they found the victim, dumped onto the street, Beck said. She was discovered at James M. Wood Boulevard and Columbia Avenue and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

    The driver escaped.

    The case was assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, and the FBI helped, Beck said.

    DNA evidence from a sexual assault kit and the scrapings from the victim’s fingernails led to a match in a state crime database, according to the chief. Investigators found Smith’s location and served a search warrant that led to his arrest, Beck said.

    The chief praised the victim, saying she fought “valiantly” against her assailant, despite being choked into unconsciousness three times and brutally sexually assaulted.

    A friend had ordered an Uber for the victim, who was waiting at Eighth Street and Vermont Avenue when an SUV pulled up and its driver asked if she was waiting for Uber, Beck and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

    He was not an Uber driver. He posed as an Uber driver. That’s a very important distinction,” Beck said. “With some trepidation, she entered the vehicle.”

    Smith drove the victim about two blocks east and sexually assaulted her, Beck said.

    “This was a young woman who through absolutely no fault of her own was targeted and selected right off the street by a predator,” Beck said.

    He praised the quick work of investigators who found the suspect, saying he was the kind of individual who might have embarked on a series of such crimes across the city.

    Smith has served prison time for robbery, Beck said.

    Uber, Beck said, had been very helpful during the investigation.

    "There’s no blame to the victim here … but it is so important that when you’re using a ride application like Uber, to make sure the person you’re getting into the car of is the person they say they are," Beck said.

    The Uber app tells users the license plate of the driver's vehicle, as well as a description of that vehicle. Sometimes the app includes a photo of the driver as well.

    Police initially said the suspect's name was Dartanyun Lamar Smith, but later clarified that his name is Dartanyum Larmar Smith. Inmate records show arrests for both names.

    The suspect was being held on $1 million bail.

    Smith is a documented gang member, according to Officer Norma Eisenman of LAPD's Media Relations Section.

    Everett Lyft driver arrested for sexual assault

    Allison Sundell , KING 7:02 PM. PDT March 30, 2017

    An Everett Lyft driver was arrested Monday for sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled woman.

    The 40-year-old male driver has been released on a $150,000 bond.

    The 22-year-old woman is diagnosed with autism, anxiety, low IQ, and has the mental age of a 13-year-old, according to court documents. She uses Lyft to get from her job to a daycare.

    The driver first started driving the woman regularly in December 2016.

    He began calling the woman on her cell phone to see how she was doing, according to documents. On March 20, the driver called the woman to ask her to dinner at Applebee’s.

    After dinner, the driver took the woman to a park in Woodinville where he choked and sexually assaulted her. The woman told police she kicked the driver, and he threatened to hurt her if she told anyone what happened.

    Lyft said the driver has been banned from using the service.

    "We are devastated by this news," Alexandra LaManna, a Lyft spokesperson, wrote in an email. "We have been in touch with the passenger’s mother and have been supporting the authorities in their investigation."

    The driver was arrested for rape in the second degree and assault in the second degree.


    By Leanne Suter and staff

    Sunday, April 02, 2017 04:39PM

    SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --

    A 37-year-old Uber driver was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger in Orange County, and Santa Ana police believe there may be more victims who have not come forward.

    Angel Sanchez was arrested Saturday at his Costa Mesa home on suspicion of sexual assault, which police said took place Thursday night near the victim's home in Santa Ana.

    The woman, whose name was not released, requested the Uber ride to her house and was picked up by Sanchez in a gray 2016 Toyota Sienna. Santa Ana police said the assault took place inside the van near the victim's destination after the driver pulled over to a side street.

    "She had fallen asleep and woke up being sexually assaulted," said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna with Santa Ana police. "She was able to fight and break free and immediately called us."

    Sanchez, who has been an Uber driver for over one year, was booked into the Santa Ana PD Jail on sexual assault charges and was being held on $100,000 bail.

    Uber released a statement to Eyewitness News saying Sanchez has been banned from the ride-share service.

    "What the rider has reported to police is deeply troubling and will not be tolerated. The driver has been banned from the app. We will continue to support police with their investigation," the statement read.

    Woman stabbed by UberPOOL co-passenger sues ride-share company


    APR 04 2017 09:49PM CDT

    SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A Chicago woman who was stabbed in the face by a co-passenger in an UberPOOL vehicle on the North Side is suing the ride-share company and her alleged attacker.

    Jennifer Camacho, 25, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court against Uber Technologies, Inc. and Julie Ramer.

    On Jan. 30, Camacho got into an UberPOOL vehicle in the 3300 block of North Halsted Street after a night celebrating with friends in the Boystown neighborhood, according to the suit. A co-passenger, 34-year-old Julie Ramer, drew a three-inch blade and slashed her multiple times across her cheeks and near her eyes.

    Camacho fought off Ramer until authorities arrived, according to the lawsuit. The two women had never met before the shared Uber ride.

    Ramer, of the Logan Square neighborhood, was arrested and charged with one misdemeanor count of battery causing bodily harm, according to Chicago Police. She was released on a $1,500 bail and is next scheduled to appear in court April 24.

    Doctors believe Camacho’s scarring could be permanent, according to her attorney, Bryant Greening.

    Uber’s insurance carrier refused coverage on the basis that the assault was not considered accidental, Greening said.

    The lawsuit claims one count of negligence against Uber, and one count each of battery and assault against Ramer. It seeks a total of more than $150,000 in damages.

    An Uber spokeswoman declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit, saying the incident was “an altercation between two riders that didn’t involve Uber.”

    It's official: Uber's Travis Kalanick and Emil Michael are actually the worst

    In case there was still any doubt, Uber's top executives are really terrible. 

    A report in The Information out Friday night alleges that CEO Travis Kalanick and Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael took Uber staffers to—wait for it—an escort-karaoke bar in Seoul, where male Uber managers picked women working at the bar out of a lineup.

    Again: Where Uber managers picked women working at the bar out of a lineup. 

    Women. Working. At. The. Escort-karaoke bar. Out. Of. A. Lineup.

    Oh yes. This is real. A female Uber manager who was part of the business trip months later reported the incident to Uber's human resources department. But it wouldn't be a story about Uber unless there were another Uber-sized screwup within it. And oh yeah, there's definitely one of those, too, because Michael tried to get Kalanick's then-girlfriend, violinist Gabi Holzwarth, to lie about it. One more time:

    Tried. To. Get. Her. To. Lie.  About. It.

    The incident resurfaced as part of former Attorney General Eric Holder's investigation into corporate culture and practices at Uber. The investigation was called for after women began coming forward in February to share their experiences of sexual harassment while working for the international ride-hailing giant. 

    As a reminder, some of the allegations since all of this started: Uber protected high-ranking male managers accused of sexual harassment, created a culture that caused women engineers to leave the company and suffer "psychological trauma," and discriminated against women engineers by buying leather jackets for all the men on a team, and not the women, because there weren't enough of them. 

    Oh, and also, a top executive resigned after reports that he'd previously left Google amid charges of sexual harassment there, and just yesterday it was reported that an Uber recruiter blamed Uber's problems on systemic sexism in the tech industry at large. Oh! And then there was that time Uber's president resigned after just a few months on the job. That was last week

    The aforementioned Seoul incident happened in 2014. And Emil Michael allegedly asked Holzwarth before the news came out Friday to say the bar was just a regular karaoke bar, no escorts involved—not a scene where "four male Uber managers picked women out of the group, calling out their numbers." 

    You might remember Michael from when he threatened to stalk female journalists who covered Uber via their Uber accounts in 2014. He apologized, as has Kalanick since this all began almost two months ago. 

    But Kalanick was spotted at a ping-pong party with the theme "Babes and Balls" just over two weeks ago. So, uh, progress? (No.)

    Uber said in a statement: 

    "This all happened about three years ago and was previously reported to human resources. In early March it was referred to Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran as part of their review." 

    Kalanick's troubles aren't limited to his company's treatment of women. He also got slammed for perceived ties to President Donald Trump and a video that showed him berating an Uber driver as they argued over Uber pricing. At least 500,000 people deleted their Uber accounts the first week a #DeleteUber campaign took off in late January. 

    Safe to say, this probably won't make anyone who didn't like Uber before a fan of the app anytime soon. But as Holder finishes his investigation, the big question becomes: Is this as bad as it gets, or do the worst of Uber's skeletons have yet to show themselves out of the closet?