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City Apologizes For Failing To Provide Data On Ride-Share Sex Assaults

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After the ride-share giant Uber revealed reports of thousands of sexual assaults in their cars, CBS 2 is asking why the City of Chicago hasn't handed over its records of complaints.

CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey is tracking down the answers--and got an apology from the city.

Uber says it received 3,045 reports of sexual assault during U.S. rides in 2018.

That's from its first ever 84-page safety report. Lyft hasn't released its numbers. The company plans to release its own report later.

CBS 2 tried to request records of complaints about ride-share drivers and companies submitted to the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BCAP) back in April of 2018.

But we were told the city would have to check with the companies themselves about releasing the information. Now the city says they should have provided the data without checking with the companies. Today BCAP apologized, saying they dropped the ball on our 2018 request but also acknowledged that they are bound by an agreement that they check with the ride-share companies before they release certain details.

"These are public records and there is no reason not to produce these records under the law," said attorney Matt Topic, of Loevy & Loevy.

Topic, who specializes in cases surrounding the Freedom of Information Act, explained that while victim information should be removed, the complaints are not exempt from FOIA law.

"That agreement stands in the way of the public's right to information," said Topic.

We asked for a copy of the city's agreement. We're still waiting.

In the meantime, the BCAP says they're going expedite a response to our request.

Topic says it's vital to transparency.

"We shouldn't be taking the city or Lyft or Uber or anyone else's word for any of these things when the underlying records exist.

"We ought to be seeing those and the public and the media can come to their own conclusions on these records.''

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