A Portland, Oregon city official who supports defunding the police dialed 911 after an argument with her rideshare driver.
The incident: Jo Ann Hardesty, one of the four commissioners on Portland’s city council, called the emergency line on the night of Nov. 1 after Lyft driver Richmond Frost, 63, told her to get out at a gas station, according to The Oregonian.
- Frost canceled the commissioner’s ride from the ilani Casino after a heated argument over keeping the windows open, an anti-COVID safety measure recommended by Lyft to its drivers.
The call: Hardesty, who has argued in favor of replacing police officers as respondents to many emergency situations, refused to leave the car and called 911 insisting police come to the gas station, despite the dispatcher’s repeated observation that a crime had not occurred.
- “I’m not getting out of the car in the dark at a filling station. Not happening,” she said. “All because I asked him to put the window up. But I’m not leaving.”
- “He says I’ve got to get out of his car or he’s calling the police. So I decided to call the police for him,” she added.
- “Okay. I mean, technically it’s his property and you have a civil agreement. There’s no crimes involved,” the dispatcher replied.
The call concluded with police being dispatched to the gas station.
Hypocrisy alert: As recently as last Thursday, Hardesty was advocating for defunding police, calling for the reallocation of $18 million from the Portland Police Bureau’s annual budget to other city services, which would follow June’s $15 million cut to department funds.
- The city council voted down the measure on Nov. 5, prompting Hardesty to declare, “It is disappointing that the status quo will reassert itself in this process. We will talk about Black lives, but we won’t do anything to make Black lives better.”
- Citing the 10th Amendment, Hardesty has also proposed restricting the authority of Portland police officers deputized by the federal government.
Aftermath: On Tuesday, Hardesty told the Portland Tribune she called the police because she felt unsafe.
- “I am very aware of how unsafe it is for a single woman to be traveling anywhere, especially in this very racially tense time,” she asserted. “I’m very thoughtful about how I travel, where I go, what time I go, because I’m always aware that my safety is in jeopardy. And even more so since this Trump era has been around.”
- According to the police incident report obtained by the Oregonian, law enforcement and a new Lyft arrived at the same time.
The driver’s side of the story: Frost told the Oregonian that Hardesty became “ballistic” so he tried to drop her off at the gas station, but she refused to exit the vehicle.
- “I’m not out there to be abused,” the driver, who identified himself as a progressive, said in an interview with the Tribune.