The Los Angeles Police Department has been arresting and towing the cars of hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers in entrapment operations funded entirely by taxi companies using a 2006 law written to target “bandit” taxis operating without licenses.
This year, the city of Los Angeles budgeted almost $850,000 for its sting operations by taxing customers a 20-cent fare hike, which is passed along to taxi customers to pay for a $30 monthly licensing fee imposed in 2006, reported Photography is not a crime.
The money from the fee is earmarked for sole purpose of funding law enforcement to crack down on bandit cabs using LAMC 71.02 MC, a statute written by legislators to target individuals posing as a taxi driver or taking cash for rides without running a meter.
In the case of Uber and Lyft drivers, LAPD targets individuals for accepting ‘street hails,’ which taxi cabs can legally accept while Uber and Lyft are supposed to accept their hails through their smart-phone app.
Seeing how it is done, one can easily see why it is entrapment.
According to the Orange County Register, “Posing as ordinary pedestrians, undercover officers wave down cars with Uber logos. The drivers who stop typically think the person either needs help or can download the app on the spot. If drivers pull over, officers tell them they don’t have the Uber app but offer to pay in cash. Drivers who accept the fare are then met almost immediately by squad cars and handcuffs. No wonder some Uber drivers caught in a sting have called the city’s tactics entrapment.”
Here is an example 3 drivers tell of their entrapment by the LAPD.
Roy Freeman, Michael Chadwick and Sid Lomeli say they were doing their job Friday in Downtown L.A. when they were each flagged down by a woman on the side of the road who was looking for a ride.
The drivers say they stopped to pick the customer up thinking she could use the app on the spot to schedule and pay for a ride, but the woman did not have the Uber app, and instead, insisted.
“A lady vigorously waved me down,” Freeman said.
Chadwick interjected, “I almost thought she maybe needed help or something.”
“She said, ‘Uber?!’ according to Lomeli. “I said, ‘Yeah, Uber.’”
Lomeli said, “Then the girl opened my back door. She said, ‘Come on, I really need to go to this place. I really need to go, please.’”
Freeman said, “She said, ‘I have a friend across the street, let me wave her over.’”
“My door was open and, next thing I know, the cops are behind with the sirens on,” Chadwick said.
The drivers were arrested and their cars were impounded.
The LAPD has been arresting about 100 people a month with this entrapment operation.
Below is a video of local news coverage:
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)