Ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, have boomed over recent years. Supporters cite the simplicity of the process and lower cost over using traditional for-hire car service. Critics cite the lack of formal regulations that operators of taxis have to undergo. However, this past weekend, one Uber passenger took out his displeasure with his ride on the Uber driver, before taking the wheel into his own hands.
According to the Boston Globe, an off-duty Boston police officer has been arrested, and placed on administrative leave, after allegedly assaulting a driver after an Uber ride. Michael Doherty, 40, of South Boston, was driven by the Uber driver to East 2nd Street. Upon arrival, Doherty confronted the driver saying he was taken to the wrong location. He allegedly said, "What, you think I'm stupid, you [expletive]," then called the driver a racial slur. Doherty told the man to keep driving, then began hitting the driver.
The Uber driver got out of his car, and was chased around by Doherty until the driver flagged down motorists for help. An African American driver stopped to offer the Uber driver help, when Doherty got into the Uber car and drove off.
Together with the driver who stopped to help, the two followed Doherty until he stopped at East First and Farragut Road. At that point, Doherty got out, and walked towards the two men, spouting additional racial epithets. Doherty then allegedly knocked the Uber driver down, and continued hitting him while the other man tried to push Doherty away. The police then arrived as Doherty began to walk away. He was later arrested, and scheduled for arraignment in South Boston District Court.
The 16-year veteran of the police department was placed on paid administrative leave. He has been arrested on charges of assault and battery, and of using a motor vehicle without authority. Not only is Doherty facing criminal assault charges and administrative leave, according to Uber, he has been banned from using the ride-sharing service. Doherty and his union representative did not respond to calls from local news agencies.
Uber issued a statement, noting, "Our thoughts are with our valued partner during his recovery and we are supporting him in any way we can during this time. We have a strict policy to remove any rider that exhibits aggressive or abusive behavior from the platform."
This is not the first negative news associated with Uber driving in the Boston area. Last month, an Uber driver was arrested for assaulting a passenger during a car ride. Alejandro Done, 46, allegedly picked up a young woman for an Uber ride on December 6, 2014. Done told the woman she had to pay the fare in cash, then proceeded to a secluded location where he attacked the young woman.
After Uber identified the driver through their records, and the woman confirmed Done as the assailant, he was arraigned on charges of rape, kidnapping, and two counts of assault and battery. Since that report, additional Boston area women reported they were assaulted while using Uber ride-sharing services in the Dorchester area. However, in those cases, the passengers may have gotten into the wrong car rather than their Uber ride. So far, police could not confirm that the additional incidents were related.