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The SF District Attorney Drops Charges in Significant Uber Assault Case

The incident was one of the earliest Uber assault cases and became an often cited example


The San Francisco District Attorney has dropped all charges against Daveea Whitmire, the Uber driver accused of hitting a passenger in San Francisco in November 2013, according to the SF Public Defender’s office. The case was set to go to trial today but it was dropped for lack of evidence.

The DA did not respond to request for comment.

The incident was one of the earliest Uber assault cases, which became widely cited in the media. Uber’s background check didn’t catch Whitmire’s past criminal record, which included multiple felony charges.

Uber’s failure to properly vet Whitmire propelled the San Francisco DA to take a hard look at Uber’s practices and sue the rideshare company for misleading customers about the strength of its checks.

“I was surprised that [Whitmire’s case] was dismissed because the District Attorney had publicized their choice to prosecute him so heavily,” said Andrea Lindsay, the defender representing him.

Dropping charges against Whitmire doesn’t necessarily undermine the DA’s lawsuit against Uber, since the company’s background failed still to catch the driver’s criminal record.

Separately, today, Uber changed its firearm policy to ban drivers and passengers from carrying guns, even if they have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. In recent months, the company has tried to make the service safer for passengers. It’s conducted an internal safety review, and for people who use the service in India it introduced a panic button that calls the police with one click.

However, it still hasn’t changed its background check practices, and the company continues to face further lawsuits and allegations of criminal misconduct. An Uber driver in Virginia, for example, was found guilty of assaulting a 13-year-old girl, and the family has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the company.

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