Portland city commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has spearheaded the movement to defund the police, and has even demanded that vichy “mayor” Ted Wheeler hand her control of the police bureau.
So imagine the surprise when Hardesty called the police in neighboring Clark County, Washington, during a Lyft ride home from a casino. Her Majesty was not content with the Lyft driver following company protocols and leaving the windows cracked a little bit. Evidently Her Highness started throwing a temper tantrum, and the Lyft driver pulled off at a gas station and ended the ride.
Hardesty refused to get out of his car.
Both parties ended up placing calls to the police.
A Lyft ride Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty ordered from the ilani Casino ended in dueling 911 calls when she refused to get out of the car, audio obtained by KOIN 6 News revealed.
The November 1 ride began when Lyft driver Richmond Frost picked up a passenger named “Jo Ann” at the casino. Frost kept the windows cracked — COVID protocols put in place by the ride share company — and Hardesty complained.
The ride went downhill from there and Frost decided to cancel the ride. He pulled off into a Chevron station at an I-5 exit ramp in Ridgefield. But Hardesty refused to get out of the car and called 911 at 9:48 p.m.
Hardesty told the 911 dispatcher he dropped her off “in the dark at a filling station. And I’m not getting out. Not happening. All because I asked him to put the window up.”
The dispatcher told her “technically it’s his property and there’s no crimes involved.” Hardesty said Frost canceled her ride “and I’m just going to sit here until he gets me another ride.”
Meanwhile, The Portland Tribute seems to be running cover for Hardesty, making her out to be the victim:
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who heads Portland’s 911 system, found herself in a distinctly uncomfortable situation on Nov. 1: calling 911 on her Lyft driver, even as he threatened to call 911 on her.
Hardesty has pushed to cut the police budget noting that many 911 calls are unnecessary, and police response often not needed.
Her 911 call, she told the Portland Tribune, shows how sometimes callers don’t have a choice — especially when they are a Black woman in Ridgefield, Washington, stuck next to a shut-down gas station next to the highway late at night.
“I knew that having him call the police (on Hardesty) would put me in danger,” Hardesty said. “And so that’s why I proactively called 911.”
Hardesty said that as soon as she got in the car, Frost complained that she wasn’t at the usual exit for pick-up. “I always get picked up at this door,” she said she responded.
“I’ve had some interesting drivers, but never one who was so blatantly rude from the beginning,” she said.
Frost said he also sensed tension from the start, and said he didn’t know if she had had a bad day gambling, or what. “I spent 40 years in the service business,” he said. “There’s always a few people, you cannot please them no matter what you do.”
Then the dispute came over the windows, which Frost, who is 63, keeps open on the driver side and the passenger side in back.
Frost says he kept the window open just wide enough to fit a pencil, and he was following Lyft recommendations. He said the car was still quite warm, and he’d never had a passenger complain about the windows before. The call, he added, “was so unnecessary … To argue and belittle and to treat me the way I felt she treated me was completely unnecessary.”
“I wouldn’t be asking him to put the window up a bit, knowing he’s about to get on the freeway, if it was all warm and toasty,” she said.
Frost pulled over at a Chevron station next to Interstate 5, cancelled the call and asked her to get out. She refused, saying he needed to get her a ride first.
According to Frost, the Chevron is well-lit and he felt Hardesty was safe. He wasn’t allowed to call Lyft to get her a ride, and said he told her that.
Hardesty, for her part, told the Tribune that the Chevron station was already turning off its lights. An employee confirmed that it closes at 10pm on Sundays. At that point she was faced with having to stand outside a closed-down Chevron next to Interstate 5, at 10p.m.
“I didn’t know how long I would have to wait,” she said. “There was no way I was going to get out on the side of the road, in the dark, because some driver has an attitude, and decided I should just get out and just whatever happens happens.”
When he threatened to call 911 if she didn’t get out, she called it herself at 9:52pm. She told the Tribune that being a Black woman, making the call herself was the best way to ensure her safety as police responded to an unknown situation.
“I am very aware of how unsafe it is for a single woman to be traveling anywhere, especially in this very racially tense time,” she said. “I’m very thoughtful about how I travel, where I go, what time I go, because I’m always aware that my safety is in jeopardy. And even more so since this Trump era has been around … People recognize me everywhere. And so I just was not going to take that chance.”
“I don’t call 911 lightly, but I certainly am not gonna do anything that would put my personal safety at risk,” she added. “It’s a lot harder when you are Black or brown in America to make that decision … But I ultimately had very limited options.”
Note the part where she says she always gets picked up there at a certain door, indicating that she is a regular at the casino.
The Oregonian has obtained and posted the 911 calls:
As of this writing, a brief post by Hardesty thanking the Tribune writer is the only comment she’s made on the matter:
— Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty (@JoAnnPDX) November 10, 2020
She’s apparently refusing to talk to other media:
And hasn’t responded to multiple emails and calls for messages from The Oregonian since Monday night, Tuesday, as well.
— Maxine Bernstein (@maxoregonian) November 10, 2020
Ahh, Portland, where you can’t script a more comedic parody.