BOSTON (CBS) – The man accused of dragging two Boston Police officers down a Mattapan street was recently an Uber driver, and now there are new calls to regulate ride sharing services.
The incident happened Sunday night. Police stopped a black SUV they say was driving dangerously, but say the car took off again as they got to it, dragging the officers about a hundred yards.
The driver, Bryant Gilbert, is charged with assault and battery and several driving violations.
Now Uber tells WBZ-TV they removed Gilbert from their system weeks before this incident, after learning about earlier driving problems.
So while Gilbert was not an Uber driver when the dragging happened, he did briefly drive for the company.
“Surprise and disbelief, and then alarm,” is how Donna Blythe-Shaw describes her reaction when she heard about this.
She works with the Boston Taxi Drivers Association.
“If you get in a car with an Uber driver you’re putting your trust in Uber saying, this driver is safe,” she said.
Uber does its own background checks, while taxi drivers are vetted by government agencies.
WBZ-TV was able to get Gilbert’s driving record in a couple of hours. It shows a long history of offenses.
The Boston Globe reports he also did time for drug possession.
We asked Uber why Gilbert was listed as a driver in the first place since the company told us they checked his background.
A spokeswoman would only say that they’re looking into that
“Though Mr. Gilbert drove with Uber for a short period of time, he has not had access to the platform for several weeks now,” an Uber spokesman said. “We are continually adding to the way we build safety into the Uber experience before, during and after a trip, including new technology enhancements and regular audits of our processes.”
The cab association says Gilbert would never have been allowed to drive a taxi.
“It’s impossible to have a hackney license and have any kind of criminal infraction or a serious driving record,” says Blythe-Shaw.
The Taxi Drivers Association is calling on the Gov. Charlie Baker and the legislature to strictly regulate Uber and other similar services.
Legislation has been proposed, hearings have been held and now it’s up to Beacon Hill.