A woman was caught on video attacking an Uber driver in San Francisco and coughing on him after he refused service to her and two other women riders for not wearing masks Sunday afternoon, KPIX-TV reported.
What are the details?
San Francisco police also told the station that one of the women discharged what's believed to be pepper spray into the vehicle and toward the driver after leaving the vehicle.
The video was shot by the driver, identified as 32-year-old Subhakar Khadka, and shows women in the back seat cursing him out, KPIX said. The woman who coughed on the driver also grabbed his cellphone from the center dash area and ripped off his face mask, the station said.
Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @KPIXtv
The video begins with one woman yelling at the driver, "F*** the masks!" while pulling hers off and then coughing directly behind him. A second woman is heard saying she has "corona" and also coughs toward the driver. A third woman was wearing a mask in the clip, and all three had them, so it's not clear why all of them didn't have masks on.
The driver is heard telling the women to leave, which they don't want to do.
Here's the clip. Content warning: Profanity:
UBER DRIVER COUGHED ON, ASSAULTED & PEPPER SPRAYED An @Uber driver was assaulted & coughed-upon by a group of wom… https://t.co/wV2sVsfLvU— KPIX 5 (@KPIX 5)1615265964.0
Ethnic bias accusation
Khadka told KPIX he believes he was targeted because he's a South Asian immigrant.
"I never said anything bad to them, I never cursed, I was not raised that way. I don't hit people, I am not raised that way, so they were not getting out of my car," Khadka said.
KPIX said he drove to a nearby gas station so they could buy masks for the ride — but Khada said racial slurs and taunting had already commenced.
"If I was another complexion, I would have not gotten that treatment from them," he added to the station. "The moment I opened my mouth to speak, they realized ... it's easy for them to intimidate me."
What's more, he told the station after the woman finally got out of his vehicle, the woman in red pepper-sprayed him — and he had to get out, too, because it became hard to breathe.
San Francisco police noted to KPIX that the driver regained possession of his phone, and the three women fled after the attack.
KPIX-TV said in a follow-up story that Las Vegas police apprehended 24-year-old Malaysia King Thursday afternoon in connection with the incident, adding that the other suspect — 24-year-old Arna Kimiai — told police through her legal counsel that she intended to turn herself into authorities.
King was charged with assault with a caustic chemical, assault and battery conspiracy, and violation of health and safety code, the station said.
The station said Kimiai posted video from her perspective behind Khadka where she claims he tried to get her and her friends to exit his car while on the freeway.
KPIX also reported that Kimiai apparently posted a video on social media following the incident. It's a bizarre one that includes much boasting about how lucky the driver was that nothing else happened to him and that Uber would be getting sued. "Where my check at?" the woman in the clip asks.
Content warning: Language:
California anti-masker who coughed on a driver says she plans to sue Uber https://t.co/IjlGs0wnRg— Fifty Shades of Whey (@Fifty Shades of Whey)1615308182.0
"It's a sign of relief we are getting there and we are one step closer," Khadka told KPIX after getting word about King's arrest. "I believe they should be lawfully punished – whatever our law says over here."
What's more, a GoFundMe campaign set up for Khadka has eclipsed the $71,000 mark as of Friday afternoon.
"I am blown away seeing that from community," he told the station. "I would like to use it for attorney fees if I may need in future, and some of that money will go toward family maintenance."
Khadka's wife and son are in his native country of Nepal, KPIX said, adding that he uses money earned while Uber driving to help support them.