Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has been calling for the police to be defused over the past few months. One of the biggest things she's been pushing for is that cops are not called on to do things that don't involve actual crimes.
So it's bad news for her that she called 911 a Lyft driver just to cancel a ride.
Hardesty calls 911 about abandoned Lyft trip
Driver Richmond Frost told the Oregonian that Hardest was "rude and abusive" to him and that he didn't know she was on Portland City Council until they met.
"She wasn't a pleasant person," said Frost. “It has nothing to do with your political position as a councilor in Portland. I'm out here doing my job. She was very disrespectful to me and made me uncomfortable. I don't feel like I have to sit in a car for someone to argue relentlessly and be rude and abusive and tell me what to do in my own vehicle. "
Hardesty had asked a Lyft to pick her up at a Washington state casino on Nov. 1, and things immediately went off the rails when there was a mix-up with her pick-up location, infuriating her.
It got worse when Hardesty got in the car and asked for the windows to be closed and said she wouldn't drive with them, although doing so would increase the risk of the spread of COVID-19. The Lyft website strongly recommends that the windows remain open for all trips.
Frost raised the windows a little but left them slightly open and said he had to do this for security reasons. This didn't go well with Hardesty.
"I said," It's for my safety and your safety. "But it was like pouring gas on their fire," recalled Frost. “She asked me to close the window now. She was kind of ballistic at the time. "
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The situation escalates
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She was so angry that Frost decided to leave Interstate 5 early.
"So I made a decision it would be in the best interests of both of us to cancel the trip," said Frost, adding that he was pulling into a chevron station. "It's lit up like a soccer field. It's safe. It's warm. She could order another Lyft or Uber, whatever she wants, and I can be done and get on with my work."
This only made Hardesty angry and Frost said she said to him, "Well, no, either you take me back to the casino or you take me to my destination."
She claimed that she paid for the ride, though Frost stated he had already canceled it, which meant she would not be charged. When Hardesty refused to get out of the vehicle, Frost asked if he should call the police to get them out.
At that moment, the woman, who urged to disappoint the police and not let them respond to calls that did not involve actual crimes, decided to call the police herself.
"I have a Lyft driver who decided to just drop me off at a gas station," Hardesty is quoted in the shipping documents. "Well, I don't get out of the car at a gas station in the dark, which doesn't happen – all because I asked him to open the window. I'm not going."
"He says I have to get out of his car or he would call the police, so I decided to call him," she added.
The dispatcher told Hardesty several times that this was not a crime and that the vehicle was the property of the driver, but she still wanted the police to help her and said, “I will not let him leave me on the side of the road. ”
The police eventually arrived at the same time as another Lyft vehicle that Hardesty had called to take them home. She just got in that car and left without speaking to officers.
"Peace has been restored and the parties involved have gone their separate ways," read the dispatcher entry at 10:16 pm.
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Hardesty complains to Lyft
Hardesty sent the following complaint to Lyft:
“I asked for a lift, the driver came to the wrong pick-up location. Then he accused me. I asked him to roll the window to my side and he started screaming, "I can't because the rules dictate that every window be cracked (which is not true).
Then he stopped at a gas station in the dark and told me he would cancel the trip. I was not interested in being left on the side of the road by an angry driver. He threatens to call the police. I called the police and another car. Both arrived at the same time.
It is totally unreasonable to expect a woman to get out of a vehicle in the middle of the night because every angry person demands it. This is a security issue for your customer. Your driver was in no danger. "
Lyft responded by informing Hardesty that “for any reason, drivers are free to end a trip as long as the drop-off is in a safe location. Safety is our top priority. We take these matters very seriously. We encourage everyone who uses Lyft to respect others. This helps maintain a safe and inclusive community. "
Hardesty told the Portland Tribune that she "proactively" called the police because Frost calling the police was "putting me at risk".
"I don't call 911 lightly, but I certainly won't do anything that would compromise my personal safety," she said. "It's a lot harder when you're black or brown in America to make that decision."
Hardesty added that it was dangerous “to travel anywhere for a single woman, especially at this very racially tense time. People recognize me everywhere … I just didn't want to take this chance. "
Despite the fact that Hardesty seems to see himself as a celebrity, Frost said he never recognized her.
"She was just another passenger," said Frost, adding that he feared the promotion of the incident could put him in some kind of danger. “I treat everyone equally. I try to be professional. "
This piece was written by James Samson on November 11th, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used with permission.
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