Family of slain Uber driver demands accountability
Ahmad Fawad Yusufi was resting in his car after giving Uber rides around San Francisco when he was shot and killed in the early morning of Nov. 28.
His family is now demanding that the rideshare giant take some responsibility for the death by providing for his family and improving working conditions for other drivers.
In a letter sent to Uber executives Thursday shared with The Hill, Yusufi’s family is asked for $4 million in assistance to the late Afghan refugee’s wife and three young children.
“Only my brother work[ed] in the family… his wife, she cannot drive nor speak English,” Mohammed Yusufi, Ahmad’s brother, told The Hill in a phone call. “[Uber] needs to take care of them.”
A spokesperson for Uber said the company is “saddened by this senseless act of violence that took Mr. Yusufi’s life.”
“Our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time,” they added.
However, the company noted that Ahmad Yusufi was not giving rides or online at the time of the accident. His last trip was at night on Nov. 27.
Mohammed Yusufi, who goes by Ilyas, says that explanation isn’t sufficient.
The Yusufi brothers had both worked for Uber since fleeing from Afghanistan three years ago. Based in Sacramento, Calif., they would travel into San Francisco to get more business and sleep in their cars at night to make it profitable.
“They said he is not working for Uber,” Ilyas Yusufi explained. “You go from Sacramento to work in San Francisco. If you get a break for a few seconds it does not mean he is not working or is off the job.”
A police investigation into the 31-year-old’s death is ongoing. The family says the shooting came after a botched attempt to steal his wallet.
Ilyas Yusufi told The Hill he knows over a hundred Afghan drivers that make the same commute into the city and stay in their vehicles because they don’t earn enough to afford anywhere else to sleep.
That situation is precarious for the drivers, Ilyas Yusufi said, recounting a time when one of his friends had their window smashed in while resting in between giving rides in Oakland, Calif.
Cherri Murphy, an organizer with the Bay Area group Gig Workers Rising, said that Uber is aware of that risk.
“Uber knows this is happening,” she said in a statement. “When they learned about Ahmad’s killing, Uber washed their hands of him. That’s simply unacceptable.”
Ahmad Yusufi’s death comes amid a rise in violence against rideshare and other gig workers.
There are at least 10 reported instances of Uber drivers being killed since 2016.
A recent analysis by The Markup found 124 instances of rideshare and delivery app carjackings over a year and a half. Eleven people died as a result of those attacks.
Many gig workers attacked on the job say the companies they work for as independent contractors have done little to help with medical bills or property damage. They often turn to GoFundMe campaigns in the absence of help from the companies, something which the Yusufi family has done as well.
The family had raised a little over $50,000 of their $100,000 goal as of Thursday morning.
Beyond the $4 million in assistance, Ilyas Yusufi and the rest of the family are asking for improved pay for all drivers and access to Ahmad Yusufi’s Uber account.
“When my brother and I drove to San Francisco every weekend, we could never afford a hotel room after delivering your customers around the city all night,” Ilyas Yusufi wrote in the letter on behalf of the family. “We drop people like you off to your multi-million dollar homes every day. We deserve a safe, hospitable place to sleep at night afterwards.”
A spokesperson for Uber told The Hill the company is actively working to grant the family access to Yusufi’s account.
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