DALLAS, TX — A Dallas County assistant district attorney was fired Monday after an Uber driver alleged that she berated him while riding in his car.
Shaun Platt, the driver, posted an audio recording of the incident to his Facebook and Reddit accounts in which Jody Warner, the 32-year-old now-former ADA, can be heard belittling the driver and calling him names.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced Monday in a press release that she had decided to terminate Warner, saying, "her behavior is contrary to this office’s core principle of integrity, and it will not be tolerated."
In a press conference Tuesday, attorney Peter Schulte and Judge Elizabeth Davis Frizell came to Warner’s defense, saying that Johnson acted too abruptly in deciding to fire Warner.
"The reason for our conference today is to make sure that you understand that there are two sides to every story," Frizell said. "It’s concerning to me what I have heard about this particular case, because I don’t believe the current District Attorney’s office has all the facts. and I do believe if they had all the facts from both sides, not just from one side, a different decision would have been made in this particular case as to whether or not to terminate Miss Warner."
Warner addressed reporters at the conference, apologizing for her behavior.
"I just want to apologize for my language — to the district attorney’s office — for embarrassing the office that I love very much and respect very much. I embarrassed my family, I embarrassed myself. That is not who I am," Warner said.
Warner admitted she had been drinking at an East Dallas pub before Platt picked her up. She told reporters she began to feel "uncomfortable with the route that he had been taking" when the driver deviated from the directions his GPS gave him to get to her home. Warner, who has worked with sexual assault victims, said she is always more "on edge."
Platt told the Dallas Morning News Warner berated him before he pulled the car over, ended the ride and asked her to leave the car. About five minutes after he pulled the car over, Warner called the police, The News reported.
Platt said before he began recording the incident, Warner threatened that Platt was "never going to work again" and that she "knows people." Platt told The News that she said, "Who are they going to believe? I’m a district attorney."
He then began recording the incident. In the recording, which contains graphic language, Warner can be heard berating Platt and calling him names like "idiot" and "retard."
Read the transcript from an excerpt of the exchange:
Warner: "Oh my god you’re an idiot. You are a legitimate retard. What a joke. I want to go home so badly, but you’re so stupid I want the cops to come so that they can f*ck you up. That’s what I want. Like, you’re such an idiot. I want the cops to come."Platt: "Ma’am, please."Warner: "Dude, you’re all — everything is being recorded. I’m an assistant district attorney, so shut the f*ck up. You had the opportunity to take me home. I think this might be kidnapping right now, actually."Platt: "It’s not kidnapping, ma’am. You’re free to leave."Warner: "It is, ’cause there was an Uber — I’m pretty sure our destination — and you have not taken me to the destination. You’re holding me here. So why don’t you take me to that g*ddamn destination?"Platt: "Ma’am, please leave my vehicle."Warner: "Why don’t you take me to that destination?"Platt: "Ma’am, exit my vehicle please."Warner: "So you’re kidnapping me?"Platt: "I’m not kidnapping you."Warner: "Do you know where my — I had — so like — you know when you picked me up? I gave you a destination; you’re not taking me there. Under the law, it’s recklessly keeping me from where I was going, and you haven’t done that. So you’e kidnapping me right now. You’re committing a third to a first degree felony. So do you want to take me home? Or do you want to stay here? We can hang out; I’m not scared. It’s cool. I was trying to be nice to you. Do you want to take me home, or do you want to — it’s weird. [Unintelligible speaking]."
Platt told The News that a police officer showed up after Platt switched off the recording and took Warner aside. Platt told The News, "She said ‘I’m the DA,’ and she said [to the cop], ‘Can I speak with you?’"
The officer spoke with Warner, then asked Platt, "You good?" Platt replied "I guess so," but told The News, "I should have said, ‘No, I’m not good.’ It was intimidating. I was intimidated."
Warner left with the officer.
Platt said he reported the incident to Uber, who assured him the app would not match him up with Warner again. Platt told The News he forgives her for her behavior.
"I’m sure she’s a good person when she’s sober," he said.
Listen to the recording here (graphic language):
Image via YouTube, Dallas Morning News