Did Lyft's Driver Disarmament Policy Fuel A Carjacking & Kidnapping?

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

As attacks on drivers continue to make headlines on a regular basis, the ride sharing company Lyft (along with its competitor Uber) continue to hold fast to a policy requiring both drivers and passengers to be unarmed. The latest incident took place in Jackson, Mississippi, where 36-year old Brandy Littrell is now in the hospital after she was shot seven times by a 17-year old she picked up from an apartment.

Deputy Chief Deric Hearn said the passenger was 17-year-old Dontarius Magee. Littrell took Magee to an apartment complex off of McWillie Circle, where he allegedly pulled out a gun, took possession of her Black Dodge Journey and kidnapped her at gunpoint, Hearn said.

“He wanted my PIN number to my phone, my debit cards, and wanted to know how much money I had in the bank, and wanted to know what was in my house,” Littrell said. “I gave him whatever he wanted because I was just trying to stay alive.”

Police said Magee took Littrell to a wooded area off of Beasley Road, where he made her crawl into the woods and shot her multiple times.

“He said, ‘Get on your knees.’ So, I got on my knees, and then I heard the first shot,” Littrell said.

Littrell said she fell over on the ground.

“I was trying to cover my face in case he kept shooting, which of course, he did,” Littrell said.

Remember, Lyft bans passengers from carrying guns too… not that it made a difference for the suspect in this case, who was already violating state law by possessing the pistol. Sure, Magee is now banned from using Lyft in the future, but that’s probably not one of his top concerns at the moment.

Lyft’s ban on guns clearly doesn’t stop carjackers, kidnappers, or armed robbers from hopping in the back seat and taking a ride. The ban has much more of an impact on drivers, who are forced to decide if making a few bucks is really worth the risk to their life.

As Lyft driver Cynthia Norman steered a white Chevy through Cleveland’s streets on a cold night in January, the app pinged her to pick up a passenger named “NBA.” She pulled up to the curb in front of a two-story brick apartment complex where two men who looked to be in their 20s were waiting for her. One was wearing a gold hoodie, the other was in a black hoodie; both had on face masks.

Norman said she was out late driving because her husband was sick in the hospital and she figured they could use the extra money. After greeting the men, Norman said the one in the black hoodie insisted on sitting in the front seat, despite it being against Lyft’s pandemic rules. That was the first red flag of the night, she said. Next, the Lyft app showed their destination as a short, four-minute ride away—the second red flag. Norman said the third red flag was when the ride ended at a shuttered sports arena.

“Is this where you wanna go? It’s dark,” Norman asked the men, according to a police report.

“Bitch, this is a carjacking, get out,” the man in the passenger seat replied. Then he punched her in the face.

When Norman pulled out her legally owned and lawfully carried firearm and shot at the suspects, they took off running. The action likely saved her life, but as she told Bearing Arms not long after, it also led to her being told she could no longer drive for Lyft.

Norman says the day after she was assaulted, a Lyft representative called her to document what happened. As soon as she got to the part about pulling out her gun, the man stopped her and told her that, because she had violated policy, she would no longer be allowed to drive for them.

Norman still had a black eye a sore throat from being punched and choked, and the curt dismissal on the part of Lyft was a literal insult added to injury.

Cynthia Norman says she’s looking for another way to make a little extra cash, but she would never go back to driving unless she could protect herself with her gun. She believes that carjackers know that Uber and Lyft drivers are an easy and unarmed target, pointing to another attack on a woman driving for a rideshare company in Cleveland who was also attacked and carjacked, this time by four men, just a few days after Norman’s own encounter.

Lyft CEO Logan Green and other top executives are well paid and (I’m sure) well protected while they’re on the clock, but they are consciously depriving the contractors that work with the company of their own personal safety. Unless you want to be fired like Cynthia Norman, you better be prepared to be left for dead like Brandy Littrell.

Lyft and Uber could change their policies with the snap of a finger. That they refuse to do so speaks volumes about how much they truly care about the safety of their drivers. Oh, the companies will pick up the legal fees if drivers in Texas get sued for taking a passenger to an abortion clinic, but they’ll dismiss those same drivers if they’re forced to use their legally carried gun in their own car to fend off an attacker. If they wants to virtue signal to the Left on abortion, fine. But as long as they deprive their contractors from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights to self-defense when they’re behind the wheel I’d rather walk than get a lift to my destination, because I’m über-opposed to any company with a driver disarmament policy.