December 31, 2016

"A California Uber driver helped rescue a 16-year-old girl from sex trafficking after giving her a ride to a hotel along with two alleged female pimps..."

"... police say. Elk Grove cops arrested three people on Monday after the vigilant cabbie dialed 911 after dropping the group off at a Holiday Inn. Keith Avila, a married father of one in Sacramento, had just logged in to Uber and was picking up his first passengers for the night: the teenager, whom authorities would later reveal was a runaway, and two older women."

Here he is, still in his car, explaining what happened into his camera, as the police activity unfolds behind him:



ADDED: I don't think Avila was trying to make a viral video. I assume the police asked him to wait while they handled things and they would come back to take his testimony. He was very upset and he also needed to collect his thoughts and remember the details. He's an important witness and getting out the phone and making this video is an excellent idea from a legal standpoint (don't you think?). Emotionally, for him, it was also good. He was alone and this seems to have given him a way to comfort himself and to reach out to other people. He was also sincerely and justifiably proud of himself and wanted to memorialize the occasion. The virality of the video is a bonus, and it's especially nice virality, because it lets us experience his heroism and internalize the example he's set. It will, I hope, inspire others to notice their surroundings and to understand that calling the police is the proper response.

And the police come quick. They don't play around.

46 comments:

madAsHell said...

Keith Avila, a married father of one in Sacramento

This is all you need to know.

Charlie Eklund said...

Mr. Avila is a good and decent man. Well done, sir.

EDH said...

Travis Bickle call your office.

rehajm said...

See something, say something.

Patrick said...

Good for him!

Gahrie said...

It is now legal for 16 year old girls to sell their bodies for sex in California.

David said...

I read that story yesterday. Distressing and affirming all at once.

Much praise to Mr. Avila.

A driverless car would likely not have helped the girl out.

The assumption by the pimps that the driver would do nothing is remarkable.

Bill said...

I love this kid. And though I loathe wearing neckties, it seems apt that he's wearing one.

Paul said...

I dunno about the video idea.

If he remembers things in a different order due to stress on the video and later realizes it happened in a different order (or different things were said) then the ones arrested can sue. Also the cops can confiscate his phone and all of his video evidence.

It can backfire. One of the reasons you talk to a lawyer is to tell your story to them first (and they cannot be compelled to tell anyone what you said) and thus 'collect ones thoughts' there, no on a phone that can be subpoenaed.



EDH said...

I tend to think the status quo of prosecutorial discretion would be the best course. This new law seems destined for the "Hall of 'Unintended' Consequences."

New California Law Does Not Legalize Child Prostitution

A California Republican claims Democratic-backed legislation aimed at protecting underage sex workers actually pushes minors into prostitution.

"Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right," Assemblyman Travis Allen, whose district covers parts of Orange County, wrote Thursday in the conservative D.C. publication the Washington Examiner.

Allen's attack on the "terribly destructive legislation" has lit up social media — but the intention of the law is not as alarming as he suggests, its supporters say.

Senate Bill 1322, which was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in September, goes into effect on Sunday.

"So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution," Allen wrote.

SB 1322, he added, "bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so."

And that's true — the law does state that minors won't be treated as criminals if they are caught under such circumstances. But state Democrats say that distinction was necessary so that the children aren't being blamed or punished for their situation.

They are instead to be treated as victims who can be placed into a safe environment by the Department of Social Services, keeping them out of the criminal justice system and potentially off the streets again as sex workers, said state Sen. Holly Mitchell, who introduced SB 1322.

In his op-ed, Allen acknowledged that Democrats are "sincere in their belief that decriminalizing underage prostitution is good public policy that will help victims of sex trafficking." But he said SB 1322 is "misguided" because it would theoretically allow pimps who exploit children to continue doing so because the children aren't being adequately removed.

"Simply put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit," Allen wrote.

Allen could not be reached Friday for further comment.

The law's backers deny that children won't be helped, and say the alternative if they are arrested of juvenile hall again victimizes them.

"The law is supposed to protect vulnerable children from adult abuse, yet we brand kids enmeshed in sex-for-pay with a scarlet 'P' and leave them subject to shame and prosecution," Mitchell said in September.

She said in a statement Friday to NBC News that it is a "factually incorrect assertion that my bill ... ties the hands of the police."

Currently, anyone caught soliciting can be charged with a misdemeanor that might include probation, jail time or a fine.

While minors will be exempt from criminal charges under the new law, anyone caught engaging in acts with them will still be subject to prosecution since sex with a minor is considered statutory rape.

Various district attorneys' offices in the state have expressed a similar apprehension toward the law — but some say it's because the state just isn't ready to provide adequate services.

"Right now, service groups are struggling with what they have in place — there [are] just not enough resources," Jane Creighton, coordinator of the human trafficking unit at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, told the Los Angeles Times in August. "I am not saying these bills should never pass. But we are not ready for them right now."

TWW said...

He is a Hispanic Trump Supporter; made an earlier video proclaiming same.

AprilApple said...

CA democrats have legalized Child prostitution.


Democrats are so delightfully progressive.

Ann Althouse said...

"A driverless car would likely not have helped the girl out."

I'm not so sure of that.

Won't driverless cars — used as cabs — have to have a way to stop people from committing crimes? There will need to be recording devices, don't you think? The driverless car could be even more effective at catching criminals. It could lock people in and drive them to the police station.

Rusty said...

What a great guy.

CWJ said...

"The driverless car could be even more effective at catching criminals. It could lock people in and drive them to the police station."

Open the back seat door Hal.

I'm sorry. I can't do that Dave.

george said...

"She was sitting right there." How come the steering wheel is on the right-hand side of the car?

Lewis Wetzel said...

"The driverless car could be even more effective at catching criminals. It could lock people in and drive them to the police station."
Oh yeah, that's the kind of car I want. A car that can lock me in and drive me to the cops if I say the wrong thing, or keeps me under video surveillance. I'd light a frikkin' fire in the goddam thing if it tried to lock me up.

Leslie Graves said...

That was fascinating. Not 100% sure, but I began to think as I got into the last two minutes of the video that he was doing this as a livestream on his Facebook account...so it was both being livestreamed to his Facebook followers as well as being recorded. I got this impression because three times he mentions someone's name followed by a question they seem to be asking him, which is something a Facebook follower can do if you are livestreaming on Facebook.

robother said...

This guy's taking a hell of a risk, putting this out on the internet (esp. in light of his public support of Trump). I expect those 2 female pimps have some dangerous boyfriends, and an Uber driver who is willing to pick up clients from whichever part of Sacramento he picked this group from is easily set up. I hope he's quitting Uber, or moving.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The great thing about a car that can detect crimes and drive the criminal to the cop shop is that once there, there would be no hurry to book the dude or dudette. The perpetrator is already locked up, right? Let the next shift worry about it. If it's Friday night, Hell, the judge ain't going to see them until Monday anyhow so leave them in there all weekend.

bagoh20 said...

Uber.

Yes mam?

Execute Thelma and Louise program.

Yes mam.

coupe said...

The pimps were probably out on bail while he was still being interrogated at the station. He should sue the pimps for lost wages due to their criminal behavior.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Pimpin' ain't easy.

Guildofcannonballs said...

You know it's hard out here for a pimp
When he tryin' to get this money for the rent
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent
Because a whole lot of bitches talkin' shit

You know it's hard out here for a pimp
When he tryin' to get this money for the rent
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent
Will have a whole lot of bitches jumpin' ship

In my eyes I done seen some crazy thangs in the streets
Gotta couple girl workin' on the track just for me
But I gotta keep my game tight like Kobe on game night
Like takin' from a girl don't know no better, I know that ain't right

Done seen people killed, done seen people deal
Done seen people live in poverty with no meals
It's messed up where I live but that's just how it is
It might be new to you but it's been like this for years

It's blood sweat and tears when it come down to a lick
I'm tryin' to get rich 'fore I leave up out it
I'm tryin' to have thangs but it's hard for a pimp
So I'm prayin' and I'm hopin' to God I don't slip, yeah

You know it's hard out here for a pimp
When he tryin' to get this money for the rent
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent
Because a whole lot of bitches talkin' shit

See more at: http://www.metrolyrics.com/hard-out-here-for-a-pimp-lyrics-three-6-mafia.html

Mark Caplan said...

I'm shocked that in 2016 and the eighth year of the Obama presidency two American black women would enslave a young girl and hire her out for sex. That's not who we are.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I saw this show once -- Man From U.N.C.L.E., I think -- where there was this cool car where the driver could lock the doors and spray sleeping gas into the passenger compartment. If I was an Uber driver, I'd want a rig like that. Also, the smoke screen exhaust pipes and the headlights that flip down so machine guns could shoot out of them.
When I was a kid I thought those were real things you could get for your car, and I wondered why no one I knew had them.

Livermoron said...

EDH:
In France, juveniles under the age of 14 (iirc)are immune from criminal prosecution. So, when one rides the Metro one is often accosted by groups of children (primarily Roma, i.e. gypsies) who roam from car to car, climb on top of you, rifle through your belongings, pick your pockets, steal what they can...and then move on.

The French surrender yet again.

T said...

So does anyone expect a defense motion to dismiss the case based on the claim that the viral video tainted the jury pool?

Jupiter said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Won't driverless cars — used as cabs — have to have a way to stop people from committing crimes?"

It's amazing how little thought the legal community has given to the implications of driverless cars. It may be that they realize it ain't gonna happen, so why sweat the details. But let's start here; a car that doesn't need a driver, doesn't need a passenger, either. Now, what do you call an unmanned vehicle that goes wherever you have programmed it to go? A cruise missle.

Jupiter said...

Q - What do you get when you hijack a driverless car?
A - A cruise missle that doesn't have your name on it.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger Mark Caplan said...
"That's not who we are."
Those aren't our values.

boycat said...

At some point in the viral lifecycle here will be the GoFundMe account.

Unknown said...

Good for him, Happy New Year dude.

madAsHell said...

Now, what do you call an unmanned vehicle that goes wherever you have programmed it to go? A cruise missile.

Think of all the muslim suicide bombers that will be out of work!!

Scott said...

Good for him and God Bless you Mr. Avila.

Very glad that he called the police. And I just bet the cops came running, child sex trafficking is one crime where the police have a real interest in shutting it down hard. I bet the policemen and DA have daughters/nieces/cousins/sisters too.

Alex said...

Amazing how people can't mind their own fucking business.

Charlie Currie said...

The ex-Professor said: "The driverless car could be even more effective at catching criminals. It could lock people in and drive them to the police station."

I think I would call that kidnapping.

Jupiter said...

madAsHell said...
Now, what do you call an unmanned vehicle that goes wherever you have programmed it to go? A cruise missile.

"Think of all the muslim suicide bombers that will be out of work!!"

I am afraid this won't put them out of work, it will just mean they don't need to commit suicide any more.

mikeski said...

How many virgins do they earn for that, though?

Michael K said...

The thought that occurs to me is whether those two women had anything to do with the kidnapped mother in Shasta County.

Probably not but a thought.

Mountain Maven said...

Infinite Uber Lyft stories. One cab story: SFs biggest cab co facing bankruptcy due to losing liability suits. Of course no coverage of what the suits were about.

retail lawyer said...

Perhaps he made the video for sympathy or gofundme purposes, expecting Uber to fire him. This can't be good for Uber's business model.

Unknown said...

"Sex trafficking" implies force, coercion, as in being held hostage. While a very small number of prostitutes might be so held, the vast majority are voluntarily in the business. The "trafficking" name allows crusaders to go after prostitutes who are not children as if they are all captives. It is a bait and switch term.

Unknown said...

"Sex trafficking" implies force, coercion, as in being held hostage. While a very small number of prostitutes might be so held, the vast majority are voluntarily in the business. The "trafficking" name allows crusaders to go after prostitutes who are not children as if they are all captives. It is a bait and switch term.

Mark said...

Hey Unknown, what part of "12 year old girl" did you miss?

Dave D said...

There HAS to be a special place in hell for people who participate in sex trafficking, right?