- The video of Arna Kimiai attacking Subhakar Khadka after he had picked up three passengers went viral on social media.
A maskless woman, who was caught on video coughing on and grabbing an Uber driver in San Francisco last month, has pleaded not guilty to assault and other charges. Arna Kimiai, 24, entered pleas to felonies of assault and attempted first-degree robbery along with misdemeanor charges of battery on a transit employee and violating a local health ordinance, according to local news reports. She remains free on bail pending a May 3 hearing.
Kimiai is accused of attacking Uber driver Subhakar Khadka, 32, originally from Nepal, on March 7 after he had picked up her passengers in the Portola district. He then stopped the car because he noticed she wasn’t wearing a face mask, which was required under anti-COVID-19 health orders. Kimiai was with two of her friends. Khadka told NBC News that he told one of the passengers that he would have to stop the ride if she didn’t have a mask to put on. He said he offered to bring them to a gas station so the passenger could buy a mask.
But in the time it took to get to the gas station, the passenger threatened him, saying she could call family members to “take care of me,” Khadka said. Feeling intimidated, he said he asked the passengers to get out of the car. But he said they refused, prompting Khadka to turn on the dashcam in his car.
While they were on the way, Khadka said they were arguing about the mask, the passengers weren’t wearing seat belts, and one had opened a car door. So he said he stopped the car again.”Luckily, my camera worked … it recorded audio, it recorded a video of the whole scene,” Khadka said to NBC. He said one of the passengers took out pepper spray and sprayed inside his car after he dropped them off. Khadka says he had to get out of his car because it became difficult to breathe.
The video shows a maskless woman, later identified as Kimiai, coughing on him, grabbing his cellphone and ripping off his face mask. Police also said that as three women exited the vehicle, one sprayed what was believed to be pepper spray toward the driver.
Another woman, Malaysia King, was arrested last month in Las Vegas on a warrant from California accusing her of assault with a caustic chemical, conspiracy, assault and battery and a health and safety code violation. A third woman wasn’t charged but Uber said it had banned all three riders.