An open Letter to the Brookfield police Department, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Fox news and NBC News.
From: Justin La Plante Administrator, chief editor, Ride Safe
At least four different local news organizations in Wisconsin have reported on a shooting incident that occurred on Wednesday, the 29th of November just after 11pm.
The NBC affiliate. This article actually makes a point of sighting that both Uber and Lyft have a strick ‘NO fire arms’ policy.
The Lyft driver had picked up four passengers later described as black and in their 20’s at a local motel 6 in Brookfield Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.
During the ride, the driver claims that he heard “a metallic sound” and saw in his rear view mirror that one of the passengers was holding a gun. The driver quickly pulled into the brookfield mall parking (closed at the time as most businesses in the area) lot and then existed the vehicle brandishing his own gun and firing four times at the passengers.
The passengers fled and police later arrested one of them. Likely this was the one who had used the app to get the ride.
In each article we notice a few problems with the drivers story.
1- The driver had no dash cam to prove his story.
2- There are no witnesses that can corroborate the driver’s accusation that any of his passengers had a gun or brandished a gun.
3- Police have not seen or recovered the alleged gun that the driver claims to have seen.
4- Police have STILL not named or charged the one person in custody or released the name of the Lyft driver. However in one publication we found doing a more responsible job of reporting, the arrested teen’s mother voiced her protest of the arrest and insisted that the Lyft driver is lying.
Like many communities in the outer Milwaukee area, Brookfield’s police department has a well documented history of racial profiling and racially selective law enforcement.
Meaning if the Brookfield Police department had any indication by now that an actual crime had occurred, the person they currently have in custody would have been charged and identified by now.
Even if these suspects had a gun, they never fired it despite being chased from the vehicle and fired at four times by the Lyft driver.
The poor police work and even poorer reporting done by news organizations like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in this incident are the exact kind of malice and disregard for rational thinking that endanger the public.
There is currently a plague of uninsured rideshare drivers operating for Uber and Lyft in America and the world over.
In just this last week yet another Uber customer was sexually assaulted here in Madison.
I have to deal with another assault committed by rideshare drivers nearly every other day now, while insured and properly vetted taxi drivers that have served these communities for decades without incident go hungry.
The fact that police and media outlets can be so blinded and arrive at such ridiculous conclusions from the ravings of a man who wasn’t even supposed to be carrying a gun in the first place is a staggering revelation.
Uber and Lyft drivers DO NOT HAVE INSURANCE and are not vetted with an actual background check process. Trusting their word against ANYONE else’s is a simple case of self delusion.
This man did not stop a crime, he caused one.
We are only lucky that he will now be removed from the Lyft app for having carried a gun as this is one of Lyft’s few responsible policies.
After our first attempt on the 29th to get clarification on the incident to ask why the person in custody had not yet been charged OR a weapon found, The Brookfield police department released a blanket statement and media black out on the subject on the 30th.
Another thing that Milwaukee area police departments are well documented for are forcing wrongfully accused suspects into false confessions.
I sincerely hope that the Brookfield Police department understands that they have been holding a person without charge, witness testimony, recorded evidence or any evidence of the alleged weapon for over 24 hours at this point.
If they plan to force a confession, it will have to be a VERY well crafted performance.
Everyone is watching.
-Justin La Plante, Ride Safe