Woman Says Cops Wanted To Cuff Her After Uber Driver Sexually Assaulted Her
A Los Angeles woman says an Uber driver took her ten miles away from home to Gardena before sexually assaulting her. She is also alleging that police officers threatened to handcuff her when she asked to be taken home.According to a Facebook post written on Tuesday, the woman says she got into an Uber car in the early morning hours of June 3 after visiting a Koreatown bar. After falling asleep in the car, she says the driver drove her into a "dark and isolated" part of Gardena—over ten miles from her home in Mid-City. She says she was awoken by her driver on top of her and trying to unzip her pants. "He ignored my initial demands and continued to try and kiss me and to reach under my shirt," she writes. "Eventually, I managed to push him off and I screamed that I was calling the police."
After calling 9-1-1, Gardena Police officers responded to the scene and the woman says the way officers treated her "was as traumatic as the situation I had just experienced with the driver." She felt the officers were hostile, asking her "Why are you out so far?" and refusing to let her call a cab home.
The woman writes that police told her if she were to be driven home by an officer, she would have to be handcuffed. However, she wouldn't need to be handcuffed if she was only being taken to a station, for whatever reason. "After arguing with them for some time, one of the officers told the other three he could take me home," she writes. "They spoke privately and I was taken home without handcuffs."
"One of our mantras is to treat everyone like you would your family," Lt. Russ Temple, head of the Gardena Police Department's Detective Bureau, told LAist. He said after hearing about the woman's account of her experience with officers in the field, he reviewed recordings from that morning and found, "There's nothing there on those allegations."
When asked about the allegation that officers said they would have to handcuff her, Lt. Temple said, "It's not quite that black and white" and added, "If a comment was made like that, it was made for a reason." He said that one of the reasons why an officer would have to handcuff somebody who wasn't a suspect would be "behavior issues."
Although the woman writes in her Facebook post that the Gardena Police Department told her the case was closed when she called back later, Lt. Temple tells LAist that the incident is being investigated and that "the ball got a little dropped" within the department, leading to the confusion. Temple says he couldn't offer any comment on the investigation because it was ongoing, but says that Uber has been cooperative.
When reached for a comment on the incident, Uber, through their spokesperson Taylor Patterson, told LAist, "We are looking into this report and immediately reached out to the rider as well as law enforcement to offer our support and cooperation. The driver's access to the platform has been suspended while authorities investigate."
LAist reached out to the woman on Facebook, but has not received a response.
Update, 2:45 p.m.: Uber spokesperson Taylor Patterson tells LAist that while Gardena is several miles from where the woman says she lives, the woman did not input a destination in the app when calling for a ride.