San Francisco, CA — Prosecutors on Thursday dropped all charges against an Uber driver accused of assaulting a passenger and smacking the gold iPhone from his hand, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Daveea Whitmire, 29, was facing a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from a Nov. 24, 2013 confrontation with passenger James Alva, who had called for a 2 a.m. Uber pickup in the Castro District.
Alva told police he was suspicious of Whitmire, because the Uber driver’s Prius appeared to be a different Prius than the one Alva ordered. In subsequent media interviews, Alva also noted that Whitmire was wearing jeans and 49ers regalia and Alva’s previous drivers had dressed “more professionally.” Despite his dissatisfaction, Alva accepted the ride. As the Prius traveled up Market Street, the men began to argue about Alva’s complaints.
Minutes later, Alva called 911 and told a dispatcher that Whitmire punched him in the face. Whitmire then called 911 to report he never touched Alva. Police responded and talked to both men.
Alva told responding officers he was not struck in the face, as he told dispatch, but in the hand, forcing his brand new gold iPhone to fall to the ground and suffer scratches. Whitmire told officers that Alva was belligerent, so Whitmire pulled over and told him to get out. Alva refused to exit and called police, Whitmire stated.
Noting that Alva had no visible injuries and his stories were inconsistent, police declined to cite Whitmire, despite Alva signing a citizen’s arrest form.
Following the confrontation, Alva sought out numerous media interviews, claiming Whitmire hurled homophobic and racist slurs at him. Whitmire is black and Alva is Latino. The epithets are not mentioned in the police report and cannot be heard in the video Alva released to the press of the argument.
After Alva’s story was publicized by numerous media outlets, prosecutors filed charges against Whitmire, who maintained his innocence.
“Mr. Whitmire never assaulted his customer. He never used homophobic or racist language. This was a case of a disgruntled customer who was able to leverage the controversy around ridesharing services to smear Mr. Whitmire in the press. Unfortunately, that led to false charges being filed,” said Whitmire’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Andrea Lindsay.
Prosecutors dismissed the charge against Whitmire Thursday, acknowledging they were unable to sustain their burden of proof.
Adachi said Whitmire’s case was not built on any real evidence.
“Mr. Whitmire deserves an apology. Since 2013, he has been living with very public and damaging allegations. Now that it’s clear there was no evidence to support these accusations, I sincerely hope Mr. Whitmire can get on with his life,” Adachi said.