Arna Kimiai, Uber Passenger Who Coughed on Driver, to Turn Herself in

A woman who coughed on an Uber driver in San Francisco has agreed to turn herself in, after her friend was arrested for pepper spraying the same driver.

Las Vegas Police Department arrested 24-year-old Malaysia King on Thursday, officials said. She was arrested for assault with a caustic chemical, assault and battery, conspiracy, and violation of health and safety code.

Police say Arna Kimiai, also 24, has not yet been arrested, but her lawyer says she plans to turn herself in.

"We're glad to hear that Ms. Kimiai intends to do the right thing and turn herself into the nearest law enforcement agency, and we hope it happens promptly," said Lt. Tracy McCray, head of the San Francisco Police Department's Robbery Detail.

"The behavior captured on video in this incident showed a callous disregard for the safety and wellbeing of an essential service worker in the midst of a deadly pandemic. We take this conduct very seriously in San Francisco, and we're committed to ensuring that justice is done in this case."

⚠️ 𝗪𝗔𝗥𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝗘𝗫𝗣𝗟𝗜𝗖𝗜𝗧 𝗟𝗔𝗡𝗚𝗨𝗔𝗚𝗘 ⚠️ Uber driver Subhakar told me he picked up 3 women in the Bayview yesterday & after asking one to wear a mask was subject to slurs, taunting & one grabbing his phone.

He’s taking a few days off.

SFPD is investigating.

— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) March 9, 2021

On March 7, at around 1.16 p.m., police were called to an incident on the junction of San Bruno Avenue and Bacon Street where an Uber driver, Subhakar Khadka, 32, was reported to be assaulted by two female passengers.

Khadka said he picked up three passengers at around 12.45 p.m. A few minutes into the drive, the victim noticed a passenger was not wearing a mask and then stopped the taxi. Uber's policy is that the driver and riders wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The altercation, which was caught on CCTV, occurred after the driver said he couldn't continue the ride until everyone was wearing a face covering. A video of the incident before the passengers left the car was shared on social media and was retweeted nearly 15,000 times on Twitter.

The video shows Kimiai shouting profanity and racial slurs at the driver, taking her mask off and purposefully coughing on him. King then says "and I've got corona" before shouting and laughing. Kimiai then grabs the driver's mask before he snatches it back off her. She then pulls the mask off the driver while recording it on her phone.

After the video recording stopped, the passengers exited the vehicle and King reached into the window to pepper spray the driver, before the three women fled the scene.

"The behavior seen in the video is appalling. The rider no longer has access to Uber," an Uber spokesperson told ABC News. Rival ride-sharing app Lyft also banned the women from using it.

The company initially gave Khadka $120 to clean his car and for his ordeal. However, an early investor in the ride hailing app started a GoFundMe for Khadka on March 10, raising $65,860 for the Uber driver at the time of writing.

An Uber spokesperson told Newsweek: "We thank the San Francisco Police Department for their swift action. Uber does not tolerate racism or hate in any form, against any community. When one community is being attacked, we are all being attacked.

"We are shocked and saddened by the recent increase in anti-Asian hate, particularly when it affects a driver or rider. In this case, we have banned all three riders and have been in contact with Mr. Khadka to offer our support."

Newsweek has contacted Kimiai for comment.

The investigation continues, and the San Francisco Police Department are asking people with any information to call the SFPD tip line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.

Woman coughs on Uber driver
A woman who coughed on an Uber driver in San Francisco plans to turn herself in to the police, investigators say. Screengrab from dash camera footage