SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco Police on Thursday announced the arrest in Las Vegas of one of two suspects in the assault and robbery of a Uber driver during a confrontation in San Francisco last weekend.
Officers from the Las Vegas Police Department apprehended 24-year-old Malaysia King Thursday afternoon in connection with the incident on March 7. The other suspect, 24-year-old Arna Kimiai, remained outstanding but informed police through her legal counsel that she intended to turn herself into the authorities.
Las Vegas police released a booking photo of King Friday.
A police source on Wednesday night informed KPIX that the two women were wanted for assault and robbery in connection with the incident.
During the confrontation, which was captured on video, the Uber driver said the women called him racial slurs, grabbed his phone and ripped off his mask. San Francisco police also said one of the women sprayed what was believed to be pepper spray into the vehicle and toward the driver after getting out of the car.
Some of that activity can be seen in the video the driver posted showing the confrontation.
"We're glad to hear that Ms. Kimiai intends to do the right thing and turn herself in to the nearest law enforcement agency, and we hope it happens promptly," said Lt. Tracy McCray, who heads the San Francisco Police Department's Robbery Detail. "The behavior captured on video in this incident showed a callous disregard for the safety and wellbeing of an essential service worker in the midst of a deadly pandemic. We take this conduct very seriously in San Francisco, and we're committed to ensuring that justice is done in this case."
Officers charged King assault with a caustic chemical, assault and battery conspiracy and violation of health and safety code.
KPIX 5 first reported on the story Monday night. The video was shot on Sunday by the driver, identified as 32-year-old Subhakar Khadka. In it, three women are seen in the back seat berating the driver using profanities. At one point, the woman now identified as Kimiai who coughed on the driver also ripped off the facemask he was wearing.
Warning: Disturbing video, explicit language (Source: Subhakar Khadka)
The driver said he had pulled over to tell the women to wear facemasks and the driver is heard telling the women to get out of his car. The video begins with one woman telling the driver, "F--- the masks!" and then repeatedly coughing at him.
The video of the women abusing the Uber driver and the story surrounding the confrontation has since gone viral. Both Uber and Lyft have banned the user in the incident.
Uber issued a statement early Thursday evening thanking the police department after the arrests were announced.
"We thank the San Francisco Police Department for their swift action. Uber does not tolerate racism or hate in any form, against any community. When one community is being attacked, we are all being attacked. We are shocked and saddened by the recent increase in anti-Asian hate, particularly when it affects a driver or rider. In this case, we have banned all three riders and have been in contact with Mr. Khadka to offer our support," the Uber statement said.
Passenger Kimiai also posted video from her perspective behind Khadka where she claims he tried to get her and her friends to exit his car while on the freeway.
Kimiai's Instagram account @keepinupwforeign posted a series of videos that appeared to precede the incident on Sunday, but the account has since been made private.
Kimiai also apparently posted a video on social media in which she expressed some remorse for her actions but continues to rail against and blame the driver for ending her ride and demanding her group leave his vehicle.
In that video, Kimiai threatens to sue Uber and ends the video by saying, "That's why I take Lyft."
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help Uber driver Khadka after Uber only offered him $120 to have his car cleaned of the pepper spray that was used in his vehicle during the incident.
While an arrest has been made, SFPD officers said the case remains an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.
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