Woman Who Coughed On Uber Driver Has Finally Been Charged

Posted by Zainab Pervez in News On 23rd March 2021
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A 24-year-old woman who pulled down her mask and coughed on an Uber driver's face earlier this month has been charged with assault and attempted robbery.

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The maskless Uber passenger who berated her driver and coughed on him has been booked and charged in connection to the alleged assault that went viral.   Arna Kimiai, 24, was booked into the San Francisco County Jail on Sunday on an arrest warrant for robbery, assault and battery, conspiracy and violation of health and safety code after the altercation with driver Subhakar Khadka.

She was ultimately charged with felony attempted robbery and assault on a hired transportation driver, along with misdemeanor battery on a transportation driver and violation of a COVID-19 health order.

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Kimlai first received national attention after the viral video showed her cough on Khadka while transporting her and two friends through San Francisco's Bayview District last Saturday. The three women can be seen sitting in the back seat of Khadka's car - with Kimiai not wearing a mask.  

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When Khadka asked her to cover her face, she coughed in his direction and the three friends could be heard saying: 'F*** the masks. As the women continued to shout at Khadka, Kimiai then tried to grab his cellphone before ripping off his face mask.  

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Robbery and conspiracy charges against Kimiai were ultimately dropped, prosecutors told CBS SF. Local outlets report that Kimiai has since posted bail and has been released, pending her upcoming court date.     

As the women continued to shout at Khadka, Kimiai then tried to grab his cellphone before ripping off his face mask.  

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It's not been confirmed what the robbery charge is for just yet, but Kimiai's bond is set at $75,000 (£54,000). She has been released on bail, while she waits for her upcoming court date.  

Lt. Tracy McCray, who heads the San Francisco Police Department's robbery detail, said the 24-year-old's 'callous' behaviour would be met with justice.   Speaking before she had handed herself in, McCray said: "The behaviour 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."  

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A police statement said the Uber driver had picked up three female passengers at San Bruno Avenue and Felton Street at approximately 12.45pm. A few minutes later, the driver stopped the vehicle and ended the ride when he realized that one of the passengers was not wearing a mask in compliance with state and local public health orders for Covid-19," the statement explained.  

The driver said that he could not continue the fare unless all passengers were wearing their masks.   "An altercation ensued, largely captured on video, and one of the passengers reached over the driver from the rear seat area and stole the driver's cellphone. The victim grabbed and eventually regained possession of his phone. The suspects then exited the vehicle, and another passenger reached into an open window and sprayed what is believed to be pepper spray into the car towards the driver."

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Kimiai who attacked and coughed refuses to apologize

"The suspects fled the scene. SFPD's Robbery Unit took over the investigation and identified two suspects soon after, Ms. Kimiai and Ms. King. We take this conduct very seriously in San Francisco, and we're committed to ensuring that justice is done in this case."      

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Kimiai later defended herself in an Instagram video and threatened to sue Uber because Khadka kicked her out of his car.

'He lucky as hell I ain't have nothing on me... Cause if we would've played with me, bruh, it would've been a whole different story, 75 percent of people I know would have smacked the s**t out of him.' she said.

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