An Uber driver was forced to spray Mace in a customer's face after the rider apparently began beating him over the head in an attack caught on camera in Newport Beach, California. The customer was later arrested.
Driver Edward Caban posted the dashcam video on YouTube after Friday’s alleged attack.
"He was grabbing my head and was trying to smash it against the window," Caban told NBC4 in an interview.
Costa Mesa police responded within minutes to the scene of the fight in the 1800 block of Newport Beach Boulevard.
The customer, 32-year-old Benjamin Golden, of Newport Beach, was still vomiting from the Mace when officers arrived, according to police.
"I wanted to make sure he didn't get away," Caban said. "I have lost so much money on people like him and I'm done dealing with it. They take the food right out of my mouth."
Caban said it all started when he went to pick up an "incredibly intoxicated" man near Baja Sharkeez on the Balboa Peninsula.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
Caban said the passenger did not give him an address, and said he would direct him to the destination.
He said the man faded in and out of consciousness, and refused to wear a seat belt. Video shows Caban making a turn and the customer falling flat in the back seat.
In the footage, Caban tells the man the ride is over, and grabs a can of Mace concealed near his thigh. After Caban pulls into a well-lit shopping center and tells the man to get out, the customer insists Caban continue driving.
Caban can be heard on video saying he will call the police if the man does not exit the car. The customer then begins beating Caban over the head and pulling his hair while cursing at him.
Caban reacts, spraying Mace in the man's face.
Uber said it has banned the rider from ever using the ride-sharing platform again.
Caban said Uber offered to reimburse him for cleaning the pepper spray from his car. Nonetheless, he said his days as an Uber driver are over.
"I don't feel safe driving for Uber any more," Caban said. "The quality of the passengers has gone down over the last couple of weeks and I know a lot of drivers will agree with me."
Golden was arrested on public intoxication and assault charges, Costa Mesa police said Sunday. He could not immediately be reached for comment.