American News Nov 13, 2020 11:59 PM EST

Portland city commissioner blames Lyft incident on 'white supremacists'

After Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty called the cops on a Lyft driver over a dispute about an open window, the "Defund the Police" councilwoman pulled the race card in her recent defense.

Portland city commissioner blames Lyft incident on 'white supremacists'
Mia Cathell The Post Millennial
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After Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty called the cops on a Lyft driver over a dispute about an open window, the "Defund the Police" councilwoman pulled the race card in her recent defense.

On Thursday, Hardesty addressed the episode at a virtual Portland City Council meeting, KPTV reported.

“It was my responsibility to make sure I got home safe, and I did everything I could to get home safe," Hardesty said. "When you’re living in a city where white supremacists are proudly riding around in their big trucks, their flags, and you’re a black person and somebody wants to put you on the side of the road at night, not gonna happen.”

During a night of gambling on Nov. 1, Hardesty requested a Lyft ride to transport her from ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield, Wash., back to Portland.

While inside the car, Hardesty told the Lyft driver to roll up the driver and front passenger windows—which were cracked for air circulation as a COVID-19 precaution per the company's recommendation—because she was cold. The driver rolled the windows up but not entirely, keeping them slightly ajar.

An argument ensued as Hardesty berated and belittled the Lyft driver. She then refused to exit the vehicle after the ride was cancelled. The incident ended with 911 calls placed by both Hardesty and the Lyft driver.

Taking the first exit off Interstate 5 south, the driver told The Oregonian that the car pulled close to the front door of a gas station’s convenience store, a Chevron to the west of the freeway. However, Hardesty wouldn’t leave the four-door black 2019 Hyundai Ioniq.

The dispatcher informed Hardesty several times that what she described was not a crime, but a civil matter, noting that the car was the driver’s property. Hardesty still urged for authorities to respond to the non-emergency.

“Do you understand only you can order another ride?” the dispatcher asked. “I’m not moving until another car comes,” Hardesty answered.

911 dispatch records from the calls placed in Ridgefield, Wash. | The Oregonian

Approximately a half-hour later, a marked Ridgefield police car with two officers arrived on scene at 9:57 p.m. while another Lyft driver appeared. “Peace restored and involved parties sent their separate ways,” an entry reported in the dispatch records.

"It is totally inappropriate to expect a woman to get out of a vehicle in the dead of night because any angry person demands it. This is a safety issue for your customer," Hardesty wrote in a complaint to Lyft.

Hardesty's complaint to Lyft emailed the night of the incident | The Oregonian

A member of Lyft's Safety Team responded to Hardesty: “As a reminder, drivers are free to end a ride for any reason as long as the drop off is in a safe location. Safety is our top priority. We take these matters very seriously. We encourage everyone using Lyft to be respectful of others. This helps maintain a safe and inclusive community.”

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