What the Michigan shooting spree reveals about Uber’s background checks
After a manhunt, officials in Kalamazoo, Mich., have arrested 45-year-old Jason Dalton in connection with a shooting spree Saturday night that left six people dead and two others fighting for their lives. (Reuters)
Authorities said they are investigating whether Uber driver Jason Brian Dalton may have given a harrowing ride to a passenger shortly before embarking on a shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Mich., that killed six — and that they are looking into whether Dalton may have continued picking up fares in the middle of his rampage.
Ultimately, investigators may decide that there was no reliable way to predict that Dalton would, during a single shift on the job, morph from his identity as a driver into his role as a mass killer. Police say Dalton didn’t have a criminal history.
An Uber spokesman confirmed Dalton had been working with the company and said he had passed a background check required for drivers employed by the company. The person declined to say how long Dalton had been driving for Uber.
The incident came just weeks after Uber settled two class-action lawsuits for $28.5 million after the company was accused of exaggerating the safety of its background checks. Despite using phrases such as “safest ride on the road” and “industry-leading background checks,” the suits claimed, the company did not check drivers against the national sex-offender registry or employ fingerprint identification.
“We learned of systemic failures in Uber’s background checks,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in reference to the lawsuits, according to Forbes. “We have learned they have drivers who are convicted sex offenders, thieves, burglars, kidnappers and a convicted murder.”
“This is only really scratching the surface,” he added.