More Bad PR for Uber: Alleged Kalamazoo Killer Was an Employee

By Shawn Paul Wood Comment

michigan shooting

Late Saturday evening, another unconscionable and cowardly mass shooting happened — this time, in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Reports say that over a span of five hours, these random, disconnected shootings took the lives of six and critically injured two more, including: a woman in the parking lot of her townhouse complex, a man and his teenage son outside of a shopping center, and a group of people shot in their vehicles in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel.

Prosecutors alleged that Jason Dalton, 45, was the culprit — and, here’s the PR fail connection — he was a driver for Uber.

There have been countless PR stories about Uber regarding its shameful handling of media relations and public affairs, not to mention its ham-handed approach to vetting drivers.

And now this, thanks to WCMH-TV (NBC-4, Columbus, OH):

uber-facebook-postYes, based on local authorities doing the math, the guy apparently picked up a fare in-between shootings.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting confirmed that authorities are looking to a Facebook post by some apparent Uber passengers who were in Dalton’s vehicle when he was allegedly involved in a sideswipe hit-and-run crash, ran at least one stop sign, and was driving erratically just before the shootings.

In an online statement, Uber’s Chief Security Joe Sullivan said the following:

We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries. We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can.

The Michigan shooting case comes not long after Uber settled two class-action lawsuits for $28.5 million, after the company was accused of exaggerating the safety of its service (source).

Also, another lawsuit was brought against the company after it hired 25 drivers in New York and Los Angeles with criminal records, in “which prosecutors argued that despite expanding its background checks in 2014, Uber was still misleading customers about their inspections into their drivers’ histories.”

Back to the Uber newsroom, the last written post about driver safety was written in March 2015, and only updated in December 2015.

That’s the thing about safety — it’s not really an evergreen story, Uber. Your PR team may know something about that. Maybe.

[PHOTO: Screen grab from WOOD-TV (NBC-8), Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids…and no, the author is not the owner. Just sayin’.]
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