Crime

KC woman sues Uber, says driver with criminal record raped her

Updated June 29, 2017: Kansas City's most wanted fugitives

From Crimes Stoppers of Greater Kansas City: Kansas City's most wanted fugitives. Video by David Pulliam/The Kansas City Star
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From Crimes Stoppers of Greater Kansas City: Kansas City's most wanted fugitives. Video by David Pulliam/The Kansas City Star

A Kansas City woman has filed a lawsuit against Uber, saying a former driver with a criminal record raped her after driving her home in January.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Jackson County Circuit Court, names as defendants both the company and the former driver, Yahkhahnahn Ammi.

Ammi
Yahkhahnahn Ammi was arrested by St. Louis police on Feb. 21 and charged with assault. Now, a Kansas City woman has accused him of rape. St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

The suit alleges that Ammi, after driving the woman to multiple locations during an evening, talked his way inside the woman’s downtown Kansas City home while she was intoxicated and then attacked her. The complaint also accuses Uber of failing to act on earlier reports that Ammi had assaulted others.

Ammi had been accused of assaulting a woman in St. Louis last year and earlier had spent eight years in prison for attempted murder, according to court documents.

A spokeswoman for Uber said Thursday that Ammi had been a driver but has not had access to the Uber system since March.

The company declined to discuss Ammi’s criminal history, citing the pending litigation, and issued a statement: “What’s reported in the complaint is deeply troubling and something we take extremely seriously. We are reviewing the litigation.”

The Kansas City Police Department has an ongoing investigation into the reported rape, according to the lawsuit.

Ammi could not be reached for comment on Thursday. It was unclear if he has hired an attorney.

According to the lawsuit:

The woman used the Uber app to hail a ride to a graduate school fraternity social function on Jan. 27. The app connected her with Ammi, who drove her to the function while asking her questions about her personal life.

Ammi offered to pick up the woman and her friends after the event, and the woman accepted, asking Ammi to drive her to her apartment to change shoes before dropping the passengers off at the Power & Light District, where a post-event gathering was being held.

Ammi again offered to pick the woman up when she was ready to leave. About 1:40 a.m., when the woman left Power & Light, she was “obviously intoxicated and had a difficult time locating Ammi’s vehicle,” the suit says.

After Ammi dropped the woman off at her apartment, and as she was preparing to go to bed, she received multiple phone calls from Ammi. She eventually answered and Ammi said he was in front of her apartment building and needed to use the restroom.

The woman let Ammi into the building, which did not have a public restroom on the ground floor, and allowed him to use the restroom in her apartment.

Afterward, the woman asked Ammi to leave but he refused. The suit says Ammi then raped the woman.

The incident was reported to police and the woman gave statements to detectives.

After the rape, Ammi tried to contact the woman for several weeks via different telephone numbers. The woman changed her phone number, moved to another apartment and went to court to obtain an order of protection against Ammi.

Ammi had previously been accused of violent assaults.

Weeks earlier, on Dec. 30, a St. Louis woman reported to Uber that Ammi had assaulted and injured her on Christmas Day. According to the lawsuit, a representative of Uber responded to the report and spoke by phone with the St. Louis woman, who described that Ammi had beaten her with closed fists.

Prosecutors in St. Louis charged Ammi with assault in February.

In 1996, Ammi — then using his birth name, Perrie D. Gibson — had been convicted of first-degree attempted murder in the beating of a 15-year-old boy in Madison County, Ill. Ammi was accused of bashing the teenager’s head with a 66-pound chunk of concrete, leaving the victim in a permanent vegetative state.

Sentenced to 16 years in prison, Ammi served eight years and changed his name after his release.

The lawsuit alleges that Ammi was authorized to operate as an Uber driver in St. Louis but not in Kansas City, where he would not have been approved by the Kansas City’s Regulated Industries Division because of his background.

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