Benjamin Golden, the now-former Taco Bell executive from Newport Beach, California, has become famous around the world for his assault of now-former Uber driver Edward Caban from Orange County, as reported by the Inquisitr.
The 32-year-old Golden has been charged with four misdemeanor charges — assault and battery among them, according to ABC 7. He is scheduled to be arraigned later in November and is currently free on $500 bail. The Orange County District Attorney’s office is reportedly planning on seeking $25,000 in bail at the arraignment hearing, according to Yahoo! Finance.
In addition to the charges, Edward Caban is seeking damages reported to be greater than $25,000 for “assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.”
Golden has also been fired from his position with Taco Bell. Caban has decided to stop working for Uber, citing the safety concerns.
In the video that has gone viral, a dash-cam facing the street with audio of the interior of Caban’s Uber car films the roadway, and Caban can be heard asking Golden for directions to his destination. Golden makes several unintelligible replies.
After several attempts to get directions from Golden, Caban turns the camera around, to face the interior of the car. Golden can been seen falling from side to side and struggling to sit upright in a seeming state of inebriation. Caban then pulls the car into a parking lot and orders Golden out of the car, refusing him further service, stating, “you’re too drunk to give me directions.”
Golden argues with Caban briefly, and starts to get out out of the car, before reaching into the front seat and punching Caban in the face and then slamming his head into the car door. Caban then retaliates by spraying what is said to be mace from a small can in Golden’s face and then chases him as he stumbles away from the car.
In December 2014, a somewhat similar situation played out in Ottawa, Ontario. An inebriated customer asked the employees of a bar to call him a cab. When the cab arrived, the driver refused to take the patron, based on his level of inebriation, according to the Ottawa Sun.
The president of Coventry Connections, which manages a portfolio of Canadian taxi operators, Hanif Patni, has been quoted as stating that he believes that, ultimately, “the driver does have the right to refuse that customer.”
Patni also noted that with his companies, anytime a customer is refused service, the next available car would be dispatched to take the customer, presumably so they aren’t left out in potentially cold weather or dangerous situations. The question of whether Edward Caban offered to have another car come pick up Benjamin Golden, or should have, after refusing him service does not appear to have been addressed.
“NY would have locked this Uber driver up by now,” Roger Klotz wrote in a comment on the ABC 7 article.
There are many examples of unfortunate cases where cab drivers have dropped elderly, disabled, and inebriated people outside of homes, only for them to be found later frozen to death. Mark Stroz, who had spina bifida and was confined to a wheelchair, was found frozen to death in front of his house, in February 2015, after a taxi driver dropped him off. He was found face down on the ground and his wheelchair was on its side. The temperature was minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Post.
Two patients discharged from Grace Hospital in Winnipeg “within days of each other” were sent home in taxicabs and later found dead in front of their homes, according to the Globe and Mail. Both deaths were ruled to have been a result of preexisting conditions.
[Feature Screenshot via Edward Caban/YouTube]