SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, has made allegations against Uber stating that “rapists, kidnappers, and killers are driving people to their destinations.” 

Gascón filed a formal complaint with Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey against Uber in December 2014 objecting to the company’s claim of using “an industry-leading background check process” to hire their drivers. Gascón and Lacey stated that the company’s claim was misleading to passengers in regards to their safety and well-being.

In a recent tweet posted by Gascón, he stated, “I strongly support innovation, but innovation does not give companies a license to mislead consumers about issues affecting their safety.”

In new documentation, backgrounds of dozens of drivers have surfaced, exposing Uber of hiring drivers with criminal pasts ranging from charges as severe as kidnapping, assault with firearms, pedophilia, robbery, identity theft, and murder. According to attorney findings, one Los Angeles driver is a convicted murderer who spent over 25 years in prison before being released on parole in 2008.

According to Gascón’s complaint, approximately 25 drivers have had serious felonies and have passed Uber’s independent contractor background checks in both Los Angeles and San Francisco regions.

According to Gascón, taxi drivers in San Francisco and most other major metropolitan cities are required to undergo extensive background checks requiring fingerprinting. “Approximately 30,000 registered sex offenders do not appear on the public registry available to identify sex offenders,” said Gascon. 

In December 2014, Gascón and Lacey settled a similar lawsuit with Lyft on behalf of the state. Lyft paid $500,000 in civil penalties and had their fines reduced by half when they agreed to get proper business authorization from airports and submit an application for state testing of its accuracy of measurement. 

While Lyft has been compliant about acknowledging their misleading claims, Uber continues to stand behind their method of background checks, stating that processes like Live Scan are not necessarily more accurate than what they use.

One of the many taxis protesting Uber's unregulated practices.<br>Image courtesly of Eric Levenson @EJLeven via Twitter
One of the many taxis protesting Uber’s unregulated practices.
Image courtesly of Eric Levenson @EJLeven via Twitter