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Denver police urge ride-sharing passengers to use caution, report suspicious behavior

Police urge ride share passengers to use caution, report suspicious behavior
Police urge ride share passengers to use caution, report suspicious behavior 03:02

A ride-sharing driver in Denver is now facing sexual assault charges. Police believe there may be more victims out there.

Nesrelah Bedru Kemal was arrested in March and has been charged with two counts of non-consensual sexual contact and one count of false imprisonment. 

He's accused of telling his female passenger she had to sit in the front passenger seat, and then assaulting her during the ride.

Denver Police Department

Police want more people to speak up about these crimes. Though it is something that can happen anytime, it can especially happen during a busy weekend as Pride and summer celebrations are underway. Police warn riders to be extra vigilant.

It is important to note that this alleged crime happened years ago and police just made an arrest.

Riders like Eloise Botka have depended on rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft to get around.

"I've been using Uber since I was little; it has always been convenient," said Botka.

It is especially helpful after a night of fun and looking for a safer option to get home.

"You don't want to drink and drive, obviously, and then if you are going to take a Lyft, it is better to do it with a driver, but if you don't live together or in the same area, then it is tough," said rideshare app user Lily Wynne.

However, after learning this news, some community members expressed concern.

"As a small woman, it is definitely scary," said Wynne.

Alex Thomas, another rideshare user, expressed being skeptical about using the app.

"I feel like for me a lot of the times I often send people back home and they're always not in a condition where they can do that," said Thomas. "So you are just putting a lot of trust in the Uber drivers, and it is worrisome for me."

Uber has been facing a growing number of allegations and civil lawsuits from rideshare passengers alleging that drivers sexually assaulted them. Recently, all these claims were consolidated into a new class-action lawsuit, which is expected to grow to thousands.


The lawsuits claim the company has failed to protect its passengers and perform adequate background checks on drivers.

"It is concerning. I definitely think, in general, when you think of background checks, I don't think it's ever in-depth," said Botka.

The company added safety features to its app, including pin verification, the in-app emergency button, and audio recording.

Lisa, who has a daughter in her 20s says even with these features, it is something to think about.

"I would stress to her to be more careful, probably not use Uber too late at night and best to use it with friends," said Lisa.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Bedru Kemal is encouraged to call the Denver Police Sex Crimes Unit at 720-913-6040.

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