Woman arrested after coughing attack on San Francisco Uber driver

24-year-old apprehended and another to turn herself in amid outrage at assault seen in viral video

Gino Spocchia
Friday 12 March 2021 14:21
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Uber passenger arrested and another to turn themselves in following alleged assault

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One woman was arrested and another has said she will turn herself in following an alleged assault on a San Francisco Uber driver in an angry dispute about masks.

Malaysia King, 24, was arrested on Thursday after a video showed the alleged attack against 33-year-old Uber driver, Subhakar Khadka, police said. She was charged with assault with a caustic chemical, assault and battery, conspiracy and violations of a health code.

A second woman, 24-year-old Arna Kimiai, indicated through lawyers that she would turn herself-in for coughing on the driver, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the viral video, the woman were among three who were caught in an argument with the driver in the city’s Bayview area on Sunday,

The trip ended soon after the women were picked up by Mr Khadka, who asked Ms Kimiai to wear a mask. She then shouted “F*** the mask!” after being driven to a nearby gas station to buy a mask, when she allegedly assaulted Mr Khadka.

Read more: Uber asks CDC to consider its drivers for early Covid-19 vaccinations

Ms Kimiai could be seen attempting to snatch the driver’s mobile phone from the front of the car, following a series of dramatic coughs — seemingly in a bid to intimate Mr Khadka.

The woman was also reportedly suspended from Uber, and another ride-hailing app, Lyft, who both operate in the Bay area.

“I never said anything bad to them,” Mr Khadka said to KPIX 5 after the incident. “I never cursed, I was not raised that way. I don’t hit people, I am not raised that way.”

The driver went on to say that the women verbally abused him because he is South Asian, and that “If I was another complexion, I would have not gotten that treatment from them.”

In a statement, San Francisco Police Lieutenant Tracy McCray said another woman involved in the attack, 24-year-old Arna Kimiai, should also turn herself in “promptly.”

“The behaviour captured on video in this incident showed a callous disregard for the safety and well being of an essential service worker in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” Lt McCray said.

“We take this conduct very seriously in San Francisco, and we’re committed to ensuring that justice is done in this case.”

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