Once again, Uber is under fire for allegedly letting a rapist slip through the cracks.
On July 25th, Uber driver Talal Ali Chammout allegedly drove a woman to her Dallas home, followed her inside, and raped her.
Chammout has a criminal record, and served time in prison on federal weapons charges. He was just released in 2012.
And according to a Dallas city spokesperson, Chammout didn’t even have a valid permit.
So, why was he driving for Uber?
“We can say with 100 percent certainty that Chammout was not permitted to be a driver in the city of Dallas,” the city spokesperson said. She also said that Dallas allows Uber to use its databases to help verify drivers, but it’s unclear if Uber did so in the case of Chammout.
— Brian New (@BrianNewCBS) August 3, 2015
And Uber spokesperson called it a “terrible situation” and said the company is “conducting a thorough internal review and working with local officials to gather and sort through all the facts.”
As you’re likely well aware, Uber has had to deal with a plethora of incidents over the years – many of them incredibly violent. Since Uber began to spread across the country and around the world, its drivers have been accused of beating, raping, and stealing from passengers.
This has led many to question the company’s background checks. Just who is slipping through the cracks, so to say?
Earlier this year, a Houston Uber driver accused of raping a passenger was found to have spent 14 years in prison.
“Either this driver slipped past Uber’s criminal background check or Uber did discover his criminal history and decided it was OK to let him drive. Regardless, this case illustrates how trusting Uber to conduct its own criminal background checks amounts to allowing the company to decide whether or not to put this individual behind the wheel. Houston would not have allowed this now alleged rapist to drive. Uber did,” said Dave Sutton, spokesperson for watchdog group ‘Who’s Driving You?’ at the time of that incident.
And that appears to ring true of this latest case. The city of Dallas is saying it never would’ve allowed Chammout behind the wheel – but somehow Uber did.
Uber calls its background screening “rigorous,” saying “all Uber ridesharing and livery partners must go through a rigorous background check. The three-step screening we’ve developed across the United States, which includes county, federal and multi-state checks, has set a new standard. These checks go back 7 years, the maximum allowable by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. We apply this comprehensive and new industry standard consistently across all Uber products, including uberX.
Uber and the city of Dallas are apparently working together to figure out exactly what happened. Chammout is in Dallas County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.