It’s a bad look for the ride-service company

Christmas is literally a few days away and you would think that the festive spirit of the holiday season is putting everyone in a good mood. But alas, the world doesn’t work that way. Uber found that out the hard way after two of its drivers found themselves involved in two separate criminal investigations in Florida and Michigan, respectively.

The incident in Florida involved 29-year old Uber driver Namique Anderson, who shot an armed robber attempting to steal from him and his passenger. According to reports, Anderson’s Uber car was cut off by a Dodge Caravan with the robber getting out and brandishing two firearms with the intent to steal from Anderson and his passenger. Turns out, the Uber driver had his own firearm in the car, which he used to shoot and kill the robber.

Florida police have been on top of the investigation and have said that the Uber driver is unlikely to face charges since he acted in self-defense. Unfortunately for Anderson, Uber has specific policies that prohibit drivers from carrying firearms when they’re operating their cars, even if the driver has a license to carry a gun, which Anderson had.

The ride-service company has not yet made a decision on a potential punishment on Anderson for violating its policies.

The incident isn’t what Uber had in mind this close to Christmas, but at least its driver is not expected to face charges. The same, sadly, cannot be said for 23-year old Uber driver Jacob Allemon, who was arrested after stabbing his passenger because the passenger, a 49-year old man who was with his wife, “disrespected” his car.

According to reports, Allemon drove the couple to a shopping center parking lot, where he ordered them to get out. The victim asked that the driver to wait until another ride arrived, only for the request to turn into an altercation where Allemon stabbed the victim five times. Fortunately, the none of the stabs were fatal and the victim, after being treated at a local hospital for wounds to the chest, back, and face was released the next day.

Allemon was arrested and charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. Likewise, he has also been banned from the app with an Uber spokeswoman commenting that the description of the incident was “appalling.”

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Not the kind of news you want to hear this close to Christmas

This is a bad look for Uber for a lot of reasons, most notably because it infringes on the safety that passengers are supposed to feel when they’re inside an Uber car.

The incident in Florida is a little bit more understandable because Namique Anderson acted on self-defense and probably saved his passenger from getting robbed. Local authorities seem to be of the same mindset since the driver is unlikely to face any charges based on the reports that they’ve received. It could’ve turned out worse for him and his passenger if he didn’t have a gun to defend himself since the robber reportedly had two firearms with him when he got out of the Caravan.

But (and it’s a big “but”) Uber has a policy regarding carrying firearms. In its own words: "Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and reliable ride. That’s why Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app. Anyone who violates this policy may lose access to Uber."

That’s the issue facing Anderson now, even if he actually used his gun for self-defense purposes.

The same can’t be said for Jacob Allemon, who just acted aggressively with malicious intent towards his passenger. No matter what the situation is, nobody can just go stabbing people because they felt “disrespected,” even if the passenger in question was being rude and actually disrespectful. Those are still not motivations to hurt someone. Uber was absolutely right for banning him from service and it’s only appropriate that he also got arrested for his actions.

Both incidents are unflattering no matter how they’re spun. They’re not the kind of things that Uber was looking forward to getting involved in, but they happened nonetheless. Now it’s on the company to start rethinking about its policies moving forward, something that I expect Uber to do before another incident puts it on a bad light again.

Source: CBS Local

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