There are two sides to every story—and then there’s the one on video.
Jody Warner, who worked as a prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, unloaded on an Uber driver she says made her feel uncomfortable on the way home from a bar.
When she refused to leave the car and told the driver that it would be his word against hers, driver Shaun Platt says he began recording the incident.
In the video, Warner calls Platt a “legitimate retard” and says when the police arrive they will “f*** him up.”
Shaun Platt, the 26-year-old driver who showed up, told ABC News that the ride soured after Warner told him to quit using GPS to get her home and to follow her directions instead — then abruptly stopped giving them.
They argued back and forth, he said, and he had enough when she started calling him names, including “retard.” He stopped the car, ended the ride on the app and told her she needed to get out.
She refused — repeatedly and belligerently.
“She kept saying she’s an assistant DA and said, ‘Who are they gonna believe you or me?’ And I said, ‘You know what, you’re kind of right,’ ” Platt told ABC News. “So I took out my phone and I recorded it.”
The District Attorney’s Office announced on Facebook that it was firing Warner:
After her firing, Warner expressed remorse in a press conference.
The Washington Post wrote:
“I’m very sorry for the language I used. I’m not proud of it,” she said, occasionally wiping away tears. “I appreciate being given the opportunity to give my side. I’m not trying to make any accusations against that driver. I don’t know what’s in his heart. I can tell you that not everything he said was true. I never touched him.”
The incident is the latest in which high-profile people have been recorded railing at someone in a service position. As smartphone use increases, the consequences for venting inappropriately will rise.
The Washington Post continued:
The 32-year-old joins the list of prominent people who got a public comeuppance after berating people with less-esteemed jobs. The great equalizer appears to be nearly ubiquitous cellphones and other technology that can quickly capture and spread the ugliest moments of people with highly polished public images.
Warner deactivated her Twitter account Monday, but her defense lawyer has taken up the case of defending her in the court of public opinion.
There’s two sides to every event. I hope the public will wait to know all the facts before making their minds up. Jody is an honorable prosecutor and the Dallas Co DAs office is lucky to have her. @debruijneline @dallasnews https://t.co/7R9fCneXcJ
— Lawyer Peter Schulte (@AttyPeteSchulte) November 12, 2017
Warner first responded to the video in a statement, saying, “I cringe whenever I hear or think about the things that I said that night. It was unacceptable, and no one deserves to be called names.”
She continued, “That being said, the audio doesn’t tell you that I was in a situation that made me feel very uncomfortable, and I became defensive and eventually angry. I NEVER assaulted my driver or touched him in any way. All I wanted to do was get home safely that night.”
Uber made a short statement:
“We expect riders to treat drivers with respect. This rider has been removed from the app while we continue to look into this incident,” a spokesperson for Uber told ABC News.
In her tearful interview, Warner said she snapped when she did not recognize the route he was taking. She then apologized to her office and the community it serves, noting that she would not be able to complete her work on several cases.
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) November 14, 2017
The district attorney was unequivocal in her statement on firing Warner.
“Although criminal charges have not been filed, her behavior is contrary to this office’s core principle of integrity, and it will not be tolerated,” [DA Faith] Johnson said in a statement. “As public servants, we represent the people of Dallas County and are examples of justice, professionalism and ethical behavior both inside and outside of the courtroom. I will not waver on my expectation of the highest integrity for myself or my staff. I will continue to run this office with transparency and respect for the justice system and the community we serve. I encourage you, the public, to look beyond this incident and recognize that our prosecutors work hard each day to seek justice on your behalf.”
Twitter users seem to be siding with the driver for now, and the former prosecutor’s claims are falling flat from lack of evidence.
Lot of lessons here:
1) Don’t abuse your position as a government agent;
2) Don’t be an asshole;
3) “Recklessly preventing me from where I want to go” is not a felony;
4) If the driver encourages you to leave his car, you’re not being kidnapped https://t.co/NG8mtREFax
— OG J.J. (@J_Dot_J) November 14, 2017
The biggest lesson of all could be that in today’s world, the camera is always on and the consequences for poor behavior come swiftly.