In spring 2021, Uber driver Brian Blagoue was carjacked at gunpoint, on a quiet street in a residential neighborhood of St. Louis. Uber withheld information from police for three weeks until another driver, Elijah Newman, was killed on the same street while driving for Lyft. In this in-depth investigation, Dara Kerr exposes Uber’s delayed responses to law-enforcement requests after its drivers are attacked by passengers. Not only that, both Uber and Lyft consider their drivers to be independent contractors, so when incidents like carjackings occur, drivers (and, if a death occurs, drivers’ families) are on their own.

In court documents, Malik described a work environment where her managers encouraged her “not to assist ‘any’ law enforcement as it would hinder her ability to reduce the backlog” and “not provide information that was ‘too much trouble’ to obtain.” Instead, she was told to “give out as little information as possible since their job was to ‘protect the client,’” which can refer to either the driver or rider. She also said she was criticized when she provided law enforcement “too much user information.”

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.