On Tuesday morning, a Florida Uber driver who is a trainee policeman shot and killed a man who mistakenly thought his girlfriend was in the back of the Uber and forced the Uber driver to a stop, then approached the Uber driver, shouting, “I've got a pistol. Do you want me to shoot you?”'
The Uber driver, Robert Westlake, 37, had a dashcam in his vehicle that taped his exchange with Jason Boek, 34. According to The Daily Mail, Boek had fought with his girlfriend. He was allegedly watching her at a bar when he saw Westlake’s Uber arrive to pick up a woman that he thought was Boek's girlfriend. He then allegedly texted his girlfriend, who unbeknownst to him was still at the bar, that he wanted to “f*** up the Uber driver.”
Westlake was transporting a drunk woman home from the Grove bar in Winter Haven because Boek’s girlfriend and the bartender thought she should be escorted home. Boek’s girlfriend allegedly helped the drunk woman into Westlake’s car.
Boek allegedly texted his girlfriend, 'I'm going to f****** beat the f*** out of the Uber driver,” before he pulled his pickup truck in front of Westlake, then got out of his truck and approached Westlake, shouting and carrying his cell phone.
Dashcam footage taken by a camera in Westlake's car shows Boek getting out of the truck and shouting: “I've got a pistol. Do you want me to shoot you?” as he approaches the Uber vehicle. Westlake fired a shot that hit Boek in the chest, then called 911 before attempting to perform CPR on Boek but Boek died at the scene.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the shooting was a “perfect” and “classic” case illustrating Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law. He described the incident thus:
This all started at a lounge where a young lady had way too much to drink. A patron and a bartender together said, "Hey, we gotta get this lady home." So they called Uber. Uber arrives, the female patron in the bar, who we now know's name is Jessica, helps escort the lady we now know as Jasmine and put her into the Uber.
The driver leaves and he is on his way taking her home in the vicinity of Winter Haven. You can see a conversation that occurs is between Jessica, who is at the bar and her boyfriend, and you can tell they have a very rocky relationship here. The boyfriend is explosive. He is stalking his girlfriend, he's angry with her and he tells her, quote on quote, "I'm going to f up the Uber driver."
Now let's get back to the Uber driver, the driver knowing nothing about what's going on because it's between a guy we now know to be Jason Boek and his girlfriend whose still at the bar. So it's a little confusing but it's really simple. Jason thinks his girlfriend got into the Uber. He doesn't realize that Jason's girlfriend Jessica helped put Jasmine in the Uber.
Judd concluded, “This was a justifiable homicide all day long. You have the right to protect yourself. This is a classic stand your ground case. This was the intent of the law.” He warned the “hotheads of the community,” asserting, “Good people carry guns and they will shoot you. A lot. Graveyard dead. Leave people alone.’
Boek's family, among other, reportedly countered that police would have been more harsh in their judgment if Westlake weren’t white or a police trainee.
Uber issued a statement saying, “We are saddened by this unfortunate incident and will continue to work with police on their investigation.”
Boek had previously been charged with battery.