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Caught On Video: Newport Beach Man Assaults Uber Driver

COSTA MESA ( — A 32-year-old man suspected of assaulting an Uber driver has been charged, Orange County District Attorney officials said Tuesday.

Benjamin Allen Golden, of Newport Beach, was charged Tuesday with four misdemeanor counts, including assault on a public transportation property, battery on a public transit employee with injury, assault, and battery.

Golden, who is not in custody, is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 17, when prosecutors say they will request a $20,000 bail.

Around 8 p.m. on Friday, authorities received a call from an Uber driver, Edward Caban, reporting he had been assaulted by his passenger.

Caban recorded video of the incident, which has since been posted to social media.

Within the video, Golden is seen repeatedly slapping, punching and beating on Caban. In response, Caban uses pepper spray on Golden in order to make his way out of the vehicle.

According to the driver, Golden requested the ride from the bar he was at in Newport Beach.

"While he was being transported, Golden was unable to clearly give directions to the Uber driver where he wished to be driven," said Costa Mesa police Lt. Greg Scott. "The driver stopped in [a] parking lot in Costa Mesa and told Golden to exit the vehicle, ending his transportation."

Golden was booked into the Costa Mesa Police Department and was later released on a written promise to appear in court the following morning.

According to Uber, drivers are educated on safety as part of the employment process. The company stated drivers are told to call 911 immediately if there is a problem.

Golden, who was employed as a Taco Bell marketing brand manager, has been banned from using the ride sharing service for life, according to a spokesperson with Uber.

Taco Bell released a statement that reads in part: "Given the behavior of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us. We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help."

Caban has decided to stop driving for the ride-sharing company. He began working for Uber in July.

If convicted, Golden faces a maximum sentenced of one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

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