by Paul Bowers
Following the S.C. Public Service Commission's Thurs. Jan. 15 decision to ban the transportation service Uber from operating in South Carolina, a Charleston police officer stopped an Uber driver who was attempting to pick up a passenger over the weekend.
Uber, which uses a GPS-based smartphone application to connect riders with drivers, had already been the subject of police stings in Charleston since the summer of 2014. City officials have said that Uber is operating illegally because the company refuses to make its drivers apply for taxi permits.
On Fri. Jan. 16 at 1:15 a.m., according to an incident report, an officer was patrolling Calhoun Street and saw a dark sedan stopped in front of Club Trio with its hazard lights on. The driver said he was trying to pick up a ride, and the officer explained the cease-and-desist order and also informed him that he was committing a traffic violation by blocking traffic.
Around this time, two women walked up to the vehicle and said it was their ride for the night. The officer and the driver explained that Uber was no longer allowed to operate in South Carolina, and one of the women replied, "Who made that rule up?" The officer told her the state of South Carolina had made the decision and then directed her toward some taxi cabs waiting nearby.
But the woman didn't take a cab. Swaying side to side, she screamed at the officer, "Fuck you, asshole." The officer arrested her on a public disorderly conduct charge. During the arrest, the officer discovered that the woman was carrying a fake Rhode Island driver's license and charged her for the fake ID as well. The Uber driver was not given any criminal charges.