Ohio man arrested for threatening Uber driver, vandalizing car in racist attack

A "highly intoxicated" Michael Winterman is on tape telling his driver, "I hope to hell you get shot, ni--er."

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A Cincinnati man was arrested after hitting his Uber driver, calling him racial slurs and vandalizing his vehicle late last month. 

Abdelkadre Khamis Ahmat picked up a “highly intoxicated” Michael Winterman and attempted to drive him home. However, Ahmat said that near the end of the ride, his GPS failed, and he tried to ask 60-year-old Winterman for directions. 

A “highly intoxicated” Michael Winterman is captured on tape telling Uber driver Abdelkadre Khamis Ahmat, “I hope to hell you get shot, ni–er.” (WCPO)

Instead of offering him directions, Winterman called 911 on the driver, who had immigrated to the United States from Chad. 

In a recording by Ahmat, the man is heard telling him, “I hope to hell you get shot, ni–er,” in anticipation of the arrival of police officers. Winterman then exits Ahmat’s vehicle and starts to vandalize it. When Ahmat tries to stop him, he was punched by Winterman, who fell to the ground, injuring himself. He smeared his own blood on the window of Ahmat’s car. 

In the video of the incident released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Ohio affiliate, Winterman can be heard telling Ahmat “remember you are Black, and I am white.” 

Cincinnati Police arrested Winterman Tuesday, and he was charged with ethnic intimidation, criminal damaging and disorderly conduct.

“His actions were the most horrendous I’ve seen toward an Uber driver or a taxi driver in my career,” Cincinnati Police Sgt. Eric Franz told The New York Post. “I cannot believe the way he treated this driver. It’s appalling to one’s sensibilities. And it just doesn’t reflect good on our city. We’re a very culturally diverse city.”

Ahmat’s account was briefly suspended by Uber after Winterman reported the driver to the rideshare service. His account was not reinstated until over a week later when the company reviewed his video. 

“What is shown is appalling and unacceptable,” an Uber spokesperson wrote in an email to WCPO. “Violence and discrimination have no place on the Uber platform. We’ve been attempting to reach out to the driver to get more information since the incident was first reported to us last month. We are reactivating the driver’s account, and the rider has been banned from Uber.”

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