An Uber security contractor reportedly tackled a Black teen girl riding a Jump bike after the company hired the guards to recover stolen bikes
Uber recently dumped Jump to Lime as part of a $ 170 million investment in the electric scooter and bicycle company.
Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images
A security officer who worked as a contractor for Uber took action against a black teenage girl riding one of the company's jump bikes, an employee told Vice.
Uber hired private security guards, sometimes equipped with bulletproof vests, pepper spray, and handcuffs to recover stolen electric bikes, Vice reported on Tuesday.
On "five to ten" occasions, these guards used physical force to hold people back while trying to get the bikes back, the employee told Vice.
A Uber spokesman denied the incident and told Business Insider: "The characterization that security teams" attack "people is completely inaccurate."
Uber recently outsourced its electric bike and scooter business to Lime under a $ 170 million financing agreement, CNBC reported just a few days after the announcement of extensive layoffs.
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A security contractor hired by Uber "grabbed" a black teenage girl in Providence, Rhode Island, who rode one of the company's jump bikes, an employee told Vice.
After taking over the electric bike and scooter start-up Jump in 2018, Uber hired private security forces to recover stolen bicycles from a flood of thefts that, according to Vice, were caused in part by an unsafe bike lock design and other security vulnerabilities.
Staff members told Vice that these guards, who they called "hired thugs," used physical violence on "five to ten" occasions to hold people back while trying to rescue the bikes. The clerk also said that the security guard who had attacked the black girl in Providence was wearing a bulletproof vest and equipped with pepper spray and handcuffs.
An Uber spokesman said in a statement emailed to Business Insider that there was no record of such an incident and that "the characterization of security teams" attacking "people is completely inaccurate."
"We specifically told the teams on site not to be aggressive and not to forcefully remove anyone from an e-bike during the pickup process," said the spokesman.
Uber pulled its electric bicycles from Providence and several other cities around August 2019 and quoted "vandalism" in a statement at the time. In May of this year, the Providence Journal reported that the relationship between Uber and city officials had become tense, with officials asking in emails about Uber better communication and problems with vandalism and theft becoming increasingly problematic.
"We have hired security companies because our Providence e-bike technology has been destroyed and misused, and we didn't want to send our technicians to the field without adequate security in the face of illegal activity," the Uber spokesman told Business Insider.
According to CNBC, Uber outsourced its electric bike and scooter business to Lime last month as part of a $ 170 million financing round. The deal came just a few days after Uber fired 3,700 employees, nearly 14% of its global workforce, when the coronavirus devastated ride-hail revenue.
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