A shared Lyft ride left Jose Gonzalez’s forehead pierced by a woman’s high-heel shoe and his lip and face bloodied and bruised, after he said he was beaten by an irate passenger.
Gonzalez told WPLG Local 10 that he’d hailed Lyft, a ride-sharing company, from outside Twist, the popular South Beach gay bar on Washington Avenue early Thursday morning to get a ride to his home in North Miami Beach. He opted for a discounted pool ride and slid into the front seat. A woman passenger was already sitting in the back, he said.
When the driver told the passengers he was going to drop Gonzalez off first, the woman allegedly became angry, shouted “f----ing gays,” and punched and kicked Gonzalez in the face.
According to WPLG, the unidentified driver kicked the woman out of the car and brought a bloodied Gonzalez home.
City of Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier told the Miami Herald that the incident happened around 4 a.m. Thursday and that Miami Beach police are investigating the attack.
“We are making good progress on an aggravated battery case, which has an element of a hate crime, but that determination would be made by the State Attorney’s Office,” she said.
The woman and the driver have not been named.
In a statement to the Herald, Lyft said: “What has been described here is incredibly disturbing and completely against our values as a company. There is no place in the Lyft community for discrimination or violence of any kind. As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we immediately deactivated the individual accused of this behavior.
“We also reached out to the victim to offer our support and assistance,” Lyft’s statement continued. “We stand ready to assist law enforcement in any investigation. Lyft has a strict anti-discrimination policy, which can be seen here. Violation of this policy can and does lead to a permanent ban from Lyft’s service.”
As for Gonzalez, in WPLG’s video report he had one question for the woman: “Why? I cannot understand why. I’m still, like, in shock. I can’t believe it.”
Miami Beach police are also investigating other recent incidents in the area, including the shooting of Kamil Patel, who was walking in an alley with his girlfriend in the 200 block of Española Way behind the Kill Your Idol karaoke bar. Patel died. And last Saturday morning, after Dwight Silvera crashed his BMW into two cars at Española Way and Collins Avenue, an angry mob surrounded the car and kicked in its windows. Silvera was arrested and charged with DUI.