Police have arrested the Uber and Lyft driver who a cyclist says assaulted her early this month—after which cops refused to do anything about it.
Officers caught up to Farrukh Rakhmankulov, 29, just before 6 p.m. on Saturday, and police charged him with misdemeanor assault. He was released with a desk appearance ticket.
Rakhmankulov, a Midwood resident, allegedly attacked cyclist Lee James on the night of August 4th in Williamsburg, after she says she passed close to him and left a handlebar smudge on his window. James said that Rakhmankulov got out of his car at a stoplight near the Williamsburg Bridge and threw her to the ground twice in front of pedestrians and two police officers. The cops, James said, refused to take a report, and one explained that the driver "had a bad day" as he urged her to shake Rakhmankulov's hand and call it a night. The officers also purportedly predicted that James would be too busy to show up in court were they to arrest the driver, and that prosecutors would probably drop the charge down to harassment anyway. One cop gave James his personal phone number before she left, she said.
Rakhmankulov's arrest came four days after a Gothamist story highlighting the incident, in which James complained that the officers' behavior was sexist and dismissive. Following its publication, detectives reached out to James, and after she filled out some paperwork at the precinct, they signed off on the collar. James said she is "pleasantly surprised NYPD changed its tune. The sergeants and the detectives showed a sense of urgency that the beat cops definitely didn't."
That's not to say that the police response is all rainbows and unicorns. James explained:
The detective didn't say a word about the behavior of the responding officers, though that wasn't surprising. I didn't expect any admission about how the incident could have been better addressed. There weren't any apologies made on their behalf.
The NYPD had previously said it was conducting an internal review of how the officers on the scene handled the incident, but representatives are now declining to say one way or the other if the investigation has continued.
James, defying what she says were the original officers' predictions about her commitment to seeing this matter through, has initiated a Taxi and Limousine Commission investigation of the driver, a Civilian Complaint Review Board complaint against the officers, and an internal Uber review that left Rakhmankulov suspended.
An Uber spokeswoman said that its data shows Rakhmankulov wasn't using the app at the time of the alleged assault. James said that one of her assailant's two passengers, who got out and ended their ride during the police encounter, said they had booked their trip using Uber. A spokeswoman for Lyft, which Rakhmankulov also used, said the company's data shows he wasn't using that service either, and that the company has banned him as well. Rakhmankulov's hack license has been suspended pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, according to an agency spokesman.
The embattled cabbie's base, Uber-affiliated Danach-NY in Long Island City, did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment.