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?

Uber driver charged with raping passenger in Virginia Beach


  • By Jane Harper
    The Virginian-Pilot
  • Mar 7, 2017


    An Uber driver appeared in court on Tuesday after he was charged with raping a female passenger in one of the city’s Oceanfront neighborhoods over the weekend.

    Sewanou Bisile Yoro, 34, of Norfolk, was arrested Monday on charges of abduction, rape and aggravated sexual assault. He is being held without bond in the city jail.

    Police said the victim was picked up Saturday night and assaulted sometime between 9:34 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. in the Bay Colony area on Linkhorn Bay near the Oceanfront.

    A bail determination checklist in Yoro’s court file said he’s been driving part time for Uber for two to three years, earning about $350 a week.

    It also indicated that he had no prior criminal history, and that a gun was not used during the alleged assault. Yoro told a magistrate he has lived in the area since 2010 and that he owns his home in the 200 block of W. 32nd St. in Norfolk as well as a 2009 Mitsubishi.

    The arrest warrant stated that the victim was an adult, but provided no other information.

    During a brief arraignment Tuesday, Yoro told General District Judge Gene Woolard that he lives alone in Norfolk. The judge appointed him a public defender and set a preliminary hearing for May 4.

    Uber spokeswoman Jodi Page said the company would work with police to provide any information they might need for the investigation.

    "The driver has been banned from Uber," Page wrote in an email late Tuesday. "The type of conduct that has been described has no place on the app or anywhere."

    Uber has struggled in the past with some high-profile sexual assault cases involving its drivers.

    The Washington Post reported in November that the company had to settle a lawsuit brought by two women who said Uber was responsible for sexual assaults by drivers who contracted with the company.

    The company was the target of a 2015 lawsuit when a Virginia Beach driver harassed and assaulted a 13-year-old girl. The driver, Isagani A. Marin, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge the same year and received a six-month suspended sentence, The Virginian-Pilot reported at the time.


Skokie Police: Man impersonating Uber driver raped 2 women

POSTED:MAR 21 2017 05:06PM CDT

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A man impersonating an Uber driver drove two women to north suburban Skokie and sexually assaulted them in the last month, according to police.

Musaab S. Afandi, 33, was charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, all felonies, according to Skokie police. At 4:38 a.m. on Feb. 12 and again at 3:33 a.m. on March 19, Skokie police responded to 911 calls from females reporting they had been sexually assaulted by a man impersonating a ride-share service driver, police said

Both victims told police they were picked up outside different Chicago bars or nightclubs after ordering an Uber, police said. After picking up the victims, the man drove them to Skokie, where he sexually assaulted them in his vehicle.

The females provided information that led to Afandi’s arrest, police said.

Afandi, of Glenview, was ordered held without bond at the Cook County Jail on Tuesday, police said. He is next scheduled to appear in court April 11.

The Skokie Police Department reminds ride-share service customers to verify the identity of the driver and their car before you get inside, wait inside for your ride to arrive, keep in touch with friends and family and share trip details with them, take note of the driver’s rating on the app and always ride in the back passenger side seat when riding alone.

Anyone with information about these or similar crimes is asked to call Skokie police at (847) 982-5900.

Woman: After I rebuffed my Uber driver’s advances, he tried to rape me

Uber has placed profits over safety by deliberately lowering the bar for drivers.”

CYRUS FARIVAR - 2/25/2017, 9:00 AM

A woman in Minnesota has sued Uber, alleging that one of the company's drivers attempted to rape her in August 2016.

As is the case in other sexual assault lawsuits involving the ride-sharing company, the woman argues that Uber has been negligent in its hiring practices. The company, she claims, is not as safe as it purports to be.

Uber has faced numerous similar legal battles in recent years. Last month, a New Jersey man sued the company over an alleged assault that he sustained after his driver apparently refused to take him from Philadelphia back to his hometown, nine miles away. Last year, two women in Boston settled their lawsuit with Uber on similar allegations of sexual assault.

The Minnesota woman, referred to as Jane Doe, hailed an Uber with two of her friends to go to a Minneapolis bar. The driver who arrived to pick them up was a man identified as Abdel Jaquez, who, according to the lawsuit, "had a prior criminal record of a sexual crime against another woman, which would have been revealed by a detailed fingerprint-based background check of the type conducted regularly within the taxi industry."


Jaquez allegedly drove the women and her friends to one bar. He and Doe exchanged numbers "so that, when they were ready to leave the brewery, they could take an Uber ride to their next destination." (This is not standard procedure for Uber rides.)


The lawsuit continues:

Ms. Doe and one friend rode with Jaquez to the second bar. It was their understanding that Uber was continuing to charge them for this second ride via the Uber App. It was also their understanding that Jaquez continued to act as an Uber employee, on the clock, and that his status during the second ride was no different than it had been during the first ride.



Judge unlikely to let Uber out of driver rape lawsuitOnce the two women were dropped off at the second bar, they exited the car. A few steps away from the car, Doe realized she had left her phone plugged into the auxiliary cable in the car and went back to retrieve it. The driver then "complimented and attempted to kiss her." When she rebuffed him, Jaquez allegedly began driving, with Doe only partially in the car. He pulled over and began "forcibly kissing and groping her." Eventually, the woman managed to flee. She rejoined her friends and told them what had happened.


The lawsuit is unusually blunt and makes a point of saying that this negligence is, in fact, part of Uber's business model.

"Uber has placed profits over safety by deliberately lowering the bar for drivers in order to rapidly expand its network of drivers and thus its profits," the civil complaint argues. "This is a calculated decision by senior executives to allow Uber to dominate the emerging rideshare market at the expense of public safety."

Uber did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.

UPDATE 11:30am ET: Brooke Anderson, an Uber spokeswoman, e-mailed: "We'll decline comment on pending litigation."

Uber driver suspended ‘for hurling racist abuse at toddler’

Richard Hartley-Parkinson for 16 Mar 2017 10:32 am

An Uber driver has been suspended after it was alleged that he assaulted a passenger and racially abused her one-year-old daughter.

Annastazia Merrett said she was hit twice by the driver when she was dropped off in Elephant and Castle.

She said the ‘Asian’ man threw keys in her face and referred to her father as a slave.

Uber said the private hire driver ‘strongly denied’ the allegations and they had received ‘very conflicting stories’ but said they had prevented him from using the app while the investigation was ongoing.

Annastazia said that she was left with a black eye following the attack and that she hit him back in ‘self defence’.

Annastazia said: ‘It was the most horrible experience of my life.

‘The most horrific thing is that the police just let him get back in the car and drive off to collect his next customer. What if he does worse to someone else?

‘I was trying to get Savannah’s baby seat out of the car and unlock the heavy gate at the same time so I asked him politely for a hand.

‘When I dropped my keys he picked them up and threw them in my daughter’s face. He called me a “white b*tch” and said Savannah’s dad must be ‘a slave’.

‘What kind of man does that? Like any mother who had seen what had just happened to my daughter I moved towards him and he took a swipe at me.

‘Admittedly, I hit him back, but it was self-defence. He punched me again and tried to drag me into his car. By that time I was screaming and trying to phone the police.

‘My neighbours could hear what was going on in the street and the guy got back in his vehicle. I was terrified.’

Police said they were called and a community resolution was agreed upon by both parties.

The mum-of-one claims the driver made sexist remarks to her throughout the journey after a disagreement over whether she could fit Savannah’s car seat.

Annastazia said: ‘He tried to tell me it wasn’t necessary and I told him it was against the law for her not to use it. My child’s safety is more important than him trying to save time.

‘He kept saying to me “I don’t listen to a woman” and “I tell a woman what to do, not the other way round’. His views were disgusting.

An Uber spokesman said: ‘We have spoken to both the rider and driver about this incident and received very conflicting stories.

‘We’re currently liaising with the police to establish exactly what happened.

‘Whilst the private hire driver strongly denies these serious allegations, we have prevented him from being able to use our app while the investigation continues.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at 8.21pm on Saturday, March 11, to reports of an assault in south-east London.

‘Officers attended and a woman reported that she had been punched in the face by the driver of a private hire car.

‘Officers spoke to the driver who reported that he had been assaulted by the woman.

‘The officers at the scene used their discretion and concluded that there were not enough grounds to arrest either party and a community resolution was agreed by all.

‘The following day the woman attended a south London police station and said she was not happy with the resolution.

‘Officers are reviewing the case and will be speaking to both parties involved. Enquiries continue.’

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Posted: Mar 15, 2017 10:43 PM CDT

SPOKANE, Wash. -

A ride share warning from a local woman, who says she was sexually harassed in the front seat of an Uber.

Cassandra Shine says she ordered the ride last weekend after taking in the St. Patrick's Day parade downtown.

The ride came and she got in the front seat, but after a few blocks things started getting weird.

"Our hands were locked and he would put it down on my leg and touch my leg and everything, Shine said.

Shine says she had told the driver no about 4 times, but the message never got across.

At one point the driver asked her to kiss him and then pulled her in for a hug which is when Shine said she told the driver no and got out as fast as she could.

KHQ reached out to Uber about the incident.

They told us this is the first complaint regarding this driver they have received, but they take allegations like this very seriously.

Since speaking with Shine, they told us they have blocked the driver from accepting rides.