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Uber facemask case: Woman arrested after video shared by San Francisco driver

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image captionThe Uber driver said an “altercation” occurred after he asked a passenger to wear a face mask (file photo)

A woman accused of refusing to wear a face mask in an Uber taxi and then assaulting the driver with pepper spray in San Francisco has been arrested.

Malaysia King, 24, is facing charges including violating the city’s health and safety laws, police said.

Ms King is one of three passengers captured in dashcam footage, one of whom appears to cough over the driver.

Police said that a second suspect, 24-year-old Arna Kimiai, had informed them that she would hand herself in.

“We’re glad to hear that Ms Kimiai intends to do the right thing,” said Lt Tracy McCray of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), adding: “We hope it happens promptly.”

The SFPD said that Ms King was arrested on Thursday with the assistance of Los Angeles police officers.

It said the investigation into the incident on the afternoon of Sunday 7 March was ongoing.

Allegations made by Uber driver Subhakar Khadka, 32, include the refusal by his passengers to wear a face mask when requested, an attempt by one of the suspects to steal his mobile phone and the possible use of pepper spray, police said.

Restrictions in place in San Francisco to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 include wearing a mask “to cover your mouth and nose” when within 2m (6ft) of someone who is not a member of your household, and when using public or “business” transportation.

What does the footage show?

The footage, captured by a camera in the front of Mr Khadka’s vehicle, shows three female passengers sitting in the back, two of whom at one point remove their face masks. The third passenger has not yet been named.

One of them later appears to lean forward and cough towards Mr Khadka. She then reaches for a mobile phone in the front, to which he replies: “Don’t touch my property.”

The same woman then removes Mr Khadka’s own face mask, accusing him of driving them “into the middle of nowhere”.

An Uber driver was assaulted and coughed on by a maskless woman in San Francisco. He drove to a gas station so she could buy a mask. She refused, then began yelling. The attack was caught on his dashcam video. pic.twitter.com/SASeSOERy5

— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 11, 2021

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Reporting the incident, Mr Khadka told police that he had stopped driving just minutes after picking up his three passengers after noticing that one of them was not wearing a mask.

He said that an “altercation” had occurred when he told them that he could not continue until they were correctly wearing their face coverings.

When the three stepped out of the vehicle, one of them “reached in to an open window and sprayed what is believed to be pepper spray” towards him, police said.

“We take this conduct very seriously in San Francisco, and we’re committed to ensuring that justice is done in this case,” the statement added.

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media caption“It’s disgusting”: Watch as two Sydney passengers argue over woman’s cough

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