Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty wants to fund the City Police Department with $ 18 million, so some found it hypocritical when Hardesty turned to the police over an issue with a Lyft driver who could be seen as something frivolous to non-urgent.
On the night of November 1, Hardesty called 911 after his Lyft driver refused to close his window. It turns out the rideshare driver was following Lyft’s coronavirus safety guidelines by keeping a window open.
Hardesty oversees Portland’s emergency dispatch system and she has campaigned on several occasions to cut police budgets and move money elsewhere. His argument, ironically, is that the force is inundated with unnecessary appeals that don’t involve crimes, according to The Oregonian.
Shortly after his incident on November 1, Hardesty again called on November 5 for an $ 18 million cut to the police department’s budget.
Hardesty was called on Twitter for calling 911. One user tweeted, “Jo Ann Hardesty wants to fund the police. But calls the POLICE when the Lyft driver tries to end the ride early due to her behavior after being picked up from a casino. “
Another Twitter user pointed to the danger of unnecessary 911 calls, saying “emergencies are likely to get someone killed and we’re not going to do that anymore.”
The Oregonian first got Hardesty’s 911 calls which show her repeatedly demanding that the police send officers – even though the dispatcher insisted no crime had been committed, the New York Post.
“I paid for a race. He says he canceled it, ”Hardesty told the dispatcher, who informed her that the driver had the right to do so. “So I’m going to sit here until he sends me another round.” “
Two officers responded in a police car. The City Commissioner got out of the Lyft and got into another rideshare car which pulled up along with the officers.
Hardesty later told the Portland Tribune that she called the police “proactively” because as a black woman she feared the police would call her “would put me in danger.”
“I don’t call 911 lightly, but I certainly won’t do anything that would put my personal safety at risk,” she said. “It’s a lot harder when you’re black or brown in America to make that decision.”
She added: “I am very aware that it is dangerous for a single woman to travel anywhere, especially in these very racially tense times. People recognize me everywhere. I just wasn’t going to take that risk.
The driver, Richmond Frost, 63, told The Oregonian that Hardesty “wasn’t happy” as soon as he picked her up from a casino. There had been some confusion in his pick-up location. Frost said she got upset when he refused to close her window completely, even though he informed her, “It’s for my safety and yours.” “
“It was like pouring gas on your fire,” Frost said. “She demanded that I close that window now. She was a little ballistic at the time.
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Frost, who has been a Lyft driver in Portland for four years, canceled the trip and drove to a gas station he said was “lit like a football field.”
When she refused to get out of her car, Frost told her he would call the police. Hardesty called 911 first. Then Frost did too.
“I knew calling him the police would put me in danger. And that’s why I proactively called 911, ”Hardesty said later.
“It is totally inappropriate to expect a woman to get out of a vehicle in the middle of the night because any angry person demands it,” she said, according to a Daily Mail article.