DENVER (CBS4)– A Lyft driver is facing scrutiny after an altercation in his car on Halloween night in Denver.
The incident started when the driver responded to a house party near 6th Avenue and Corona. A woman got into the car with an open can of beer and the driver immediately canceled the ride.
“It was quite busy. At that point I had already had several denials for people bringing alcohol in the car. That would have been, I believe, my third,” said the driver who asked CBS4 not to identify him.
Within seconds an intoxicated man dressed as Indiana Jones enters the car. Video shows an altercation between the man and the driver.
Driver: “I said the ride is not happening. Everybody out of the car.”
Passenger: “Hey, Don’t get punched in the (expletive) mouth.”
A few seconds later the driver pepper sprays the man who wouldn’t leave the car.
“When the Indiana Jones character twice threatened to punch me in the mouth I feel I was fully justified to defend myself because he wasn’t leaving,” the driver told CBS 4. “I’m the first to admit I may not have handled the initial interaction in the best way possible. However this person was not even privy to that initial interaction. He basically snuck in to the car after I had already ended the ride with the initial people.”
The driver told us he posted the video to YouTube after a recent incident in Southern California where a driver was assaulted.
“This seems to becoming more and more of a problem as more and more people use the rideshare platform,” the driver said.
He also wanted to bring to light the arbitrary rating system for ride share platforms. He says he often terminates rides with people who bring open containers because they usually give him a low rating.
“We’re really at the mercy of the passengers at that point. Ultimately you’re deactivated from the Uber or Lyft system,” he said. “I believe it was 4.7. I know anything under 4.6 is frowned upon.”
“In normal life four out of five is not bad, still pretty good. Most passengers will often rate a four for a good experience,” he said.
Lyft investigated the incident and issued CBS 4 the following statement: “The safety of our community is our top priority and we do not tolerate aggressive behavior from drivers or passengers. Our Trust and Safety team has reviewed the incident and, based on our investigation, deactivated the driver. The passenger has also been issued a warning.”
Denver police said they were never contacted by the man who was pepper sprayed so there are no potential charges.
“I’ve pretty much decided I’m done driving for that platform,” the driver said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.