An Uber driver in Boston has been charged with kidnapping after he allegedly locked a female passenger in his car last week and refused to let her out, even when she screamed for help.
Kamal Essalak, 47, was arrested in the town of Acton on Saturday, March 20 by Boston Police Department over the incident which took place at roughly 8:30 p.m. March 18.
Police said they responded to a report from a woman who claimed she had requested a lift via the ridesharing app.
The victim claimed to notice the driver was behaving strangely once she entered the vehicle and asked to be dropped off.
She told police that when the driver stopped the car, the passenger discovered that the child safety locks had been activated on both rear doors and she was unable to exit.
The police statement said: “As the victim began to scream and bang on the glass in an attempt to draw attention to the unfolding situation, the suspect began to climb into the rear passenger area of the vehicle, laughing periodically.
“The victim was able to quickly slide around the suspect, into the driver’s seat at which time she was able to unlock the door and exit the vehicle, making her way to safety.”
Uber confirmed to NBC Boston that Essalak was one of its drivers.
A spokesperson said that Uber had immediately removed Essalak’s access upon hearing about the incident and had also been in contact with the victim.
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An Uber spokesperson said: “What’s been reported is horrifying and something no one should have to go through. We appreciate the Acton Police Department’s quick actions that helped lead to an arrest in this case.”
Uber has introduced a number of safety features and resources for women and victims of sexual violence since its first safety report in 2019.
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