Uber driver responds to allegations of punching passenger in face

An Atlanta woman was left with a black eye after a ride with an Uber driver Saturday.

ATLANTA -- An Uber driver has responded to allegations that he punched a passenger in the face over the weekend. 

Anna Armas said she and her friend were picked up on Irwin Street Saturday night. She said that she got into an argument with the driver after she asked him why he was going "the long way." Armas and her friend were then asked to get out of the car.

Armas said that she then called the guy a "dumb ass." She said he then asked her to say it again, and when she did, she claims he punched her in the face.

In a statement Monday night, the driver, Yero Bendele, gave his side of the story to 11Alive.

Bendele said he pushed Armas away after she slapped him in the face. He said that she spat in his car, called him a "dumbass", "*** hole" and a "crack head" several times "because she thought I was taking a route she did not like."

"I have driven over 2000 riders of all ethnicities, gender and ages, a few of which were arrogant, condescending, disrespectful and at various stages of intoxication, but none have ever felt they had the privilege or authority to slap me in my face," Bendele said.

Bendele said that he has also filed a police report, but hopes that the matter "can be resolved amicably and in good faith." He told police he did not want to press charges against the woman. 

Photos | Woman punched in the face by Uber driver

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Attorney Sandy Becher is representing Armas and said his client was "beaten in her face by a man, brutally." She said they plan to hold Uber responsible. 

In a statement to 11Alive, Uber said they are looking into the matter and have suspended the driver's app so that he cannot pick up anyone else. The Uber representative said this is standard practice.

Bendele's full statement is below:

Per your request.

I appreciate your attempt to hear my side of the unfortunate incident. I am hopeful that the young lady regrets slapping me in the face as I regret my response by pushing her away from me. She spat in my car, called me a dumbass, [expletive] hole, and a crack head several times because she thought I was taking a route she did not like. I informed her that I was simply following the navigation.

I have driven over 2000 riders of all ethnicities, gender and ages a few of which were arrogant, condescending, disrespectful and at various stages of intoxication, but none have ever felt they had the privilege or authority to slap me in my face.

I overstand we have both filed police reports of the indecent however I am hopeful through restorative Justice Mediation the matter can be resolved amicably and in good faith. I thank you for inquiry and the opportunity to present this statement. 

(© 2016 WXIA)


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