UPDATE: Dallas Assistant District Attorney Jody Warner has been fired following the release of the drunken audio of her berating an Uber driver.
Earlier: An Uber driver alleges that while he was giving a Dallas County assistant district attorney a ride late Friday night, she hit him, insulted him and accused him of kidnapping her.
The Dallas County district attorney’s office is investigating the incident, part of which was audio recorded.
Shaun Platt, 26, says as he was taking Jody Warner home, she slapped his shoulder and repeatedly berated him.
Warner, 32, has worked in the district attorney’s office for six years and is a prosecutor in the crimes against children unit, a spokeswoman said.
Uber also said Saturday that it was looking into the incident.
Warner could not be reached for comment, but a former Dallas County prosecutor came to her defense online, urging the public not to rush to judgment.
“There’s two sides to every event,” criminal defense attorney Pete Schulte said on Twitter. “Jody is an honorable prosecutor and the Dallas Co DAs office is lucky to have her.”
In Platt’s recording, a woman can be heard calling him names, including “an idiot,” “a legitimate retard” and “stupid.”
Platt said he picked up Warner at Capitol Pub in Old East Dallas and she appeared intoxicated. She yelled at friends out the window when she got in his car. Platt said he tried to initiate small talk with her, asking if she was excited for the holidays. He noticed she was getting increasingly upset, he said.
Platt said it escalated after Warner told him to change directions from the route his GPS directed him to go and he got lost.
“I said, ‘Should I make a left up here?’ and she refused to answer me,” Platt said. “She said, ‘You can follow the [expletive] GPS’ and she became increasingly angry, even though I was just trying to get her home.”
He said she continued calling him names and belittling him. She slapped his shoulder with her fingers and part of her palm, but it “didn’t hurt that bad,” he said.
“I said, ‘Nope that’s it,’ and I pulled over on the side of the road. I wanted the cops to show up so they could do something about it,” Platt said. “But I didn’t call the cops. I gave her a chance and she kept saying she was a DA and I didn’t want to get her in trouble.”
Editor’s note: The following recording contains profanity.
He ended the ride on the Uber app and asked her to get out, he said.
Platt says she was threatening him that he was “never going to work again” and that she “knows people.” Platt said she told him, “Who are they going to believe? I’m a district attorney.”
After about five minutes, he called 911 and started recording.
“Oh, my God, you’re going to regret this so much,” the passenger says in the audio recording. “Just take me home, dude. … Either drop me off at my house, or we’ll wait for the cops because I’m not wrong.”
“You’re a [expletive] idiot,” the passenger says. “We’ll wait for the cops then if that’s what you think is appropriate.”
The woman continues to call Platt names.
“Oh my God, you’re an idiot. You are a legitimate retard,” the passenger says. “I want to go home so badly but you’re so stupid I want the cops to come so that they can [expletive] you up, that’s what I want.”
He continues to ask her to get out of his vehicle.
“Dude, everything’s being reported,” the passenger says. “I’m an assistant district attorney so shut the [expletive] up.”
She accuses him of kidnapping her.
“I think this might be kidnapping right now, actually,” she says.
“It’s not kidnapping, ma’am. You’re free to leave,” he says.
“No, it is because there was an Uber that had a destination and you have not taken me to that destination. You’re holding me here, so please take me to that destination,” she says.
“Ma’am, will you please leave my vehicle,” Platt says.
“Under the law, it’s recklessly keeping me from where I was going, and you have done that,” she says. “You’re kidnapping me. You’re committing a third- to first-degree felony, so do you want to take me home?”
He asks her to leave the car again.
“We can hang out. I’m not scared,” she says.
After police arrived, Platt said he was “totally afraid” and thought he would be arrested. Warner was “let off the hook,” he said.
“She said ‘I’m the DA’ and she said [to the cop] ‘Can I speak with you?’ and he pulled her aside away from me,” Platt said. “Then the cop said ‘You good?’ and I said ‘I guess so.’ I should’ve said, ‘No, I’m not good.’ It was intimidating. I was intimidated.”
The cop and Warner left in the police car, Platt said.
Dallas police did not return calls seeking comment.
Platt drove two more passengers, but ended his shift early because of the “negative vibes,” he said. He decided to post about the incident on Facebook.
“I didn’t post this maliciously. I mean no harm to her,” Platt said. “I just want an apology. I was just telling Facebook friends and when I get home I have thousands of views. It was crazy.”
He says he does not want Warner to lose her job.
“My only hope is that she learns from this and she apologizes,” Platt said. “Some of the things she said off the record were belittling me for being a driver. She says I’m stupid and all these things, and it was way worse.”
Platt says he was afraid of her following through with her threats to tell others that he was the one berating her.
“She can’t treat people like that just because I’m not a doctor or a lawyer or someone she hangs around,” Platt says. “I was very polite and sweet. If it wasn’t me, it would be the next person that she Ubers with.”
He reported the incident to Uber. The company assured him that his app wouldn’t match up with her again, he said.
“One of the main reasons I forgive her is I know she was intoxicated, that’s another reason — that’s no excuse to treat someone like that just because you’re intoxicated,” Platt said. “I’m sure she’s a good person when she’s sober.”
©2017 The Dallas Morning News
Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.