Uber drivers say they're still targeted by North Chicago police

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (WLS) -- Uber drivers say they are still being fined and their vehicles impounded by police after officials in North Chicago told the I-Team they would stop pulling those drivers over.

The Uber drivers say they had no idea they'd be breaking the law by picking up riders. The city attorney for North Chicago told the I-Team in June that police would stop pulling over Uber cars, but that didn't happen. Drivers say they are again being treated like criminals.

Three more drivers came to the I-team and provided recent tickets, court records and tow charges, showing that North Chicago police impounded their vehicles.

Most of the drivers say they were pulled over when they went to pick up students at the visitors lot at the Great Lakes Naval Station. The lot is patrolled by the North Chicago Police Department.

"The police were already right there waiting for us," said Stephen Edmonston. "It was like they were setting us up for failure.'"

"Two North Chicago policemen followed me onto the naval base. I picked two riders up that had called. And as soon as I had pulled off the base, they stopped me," said Mustafa Abdullah.

Both Abdullah and Edmondson say most of their fines were reversed and charges dropped in court and Uber is covering their tow fees, but they both lost time and money sitting in a squad car instead of working.

"They told me to turn my engine off," Edmonston said. "They ordered my passengers to get out of the vehicle. They didn't inform me exactly what was going on. They put me in the back of a squad car for no reason."

In June, the I-Team reported on Uber driver Kim Whiteside, who was also towed and impounded. Uber said several other drivers were in her same situation.

At that time, police and the police chief refused to talk to the I-Team on camera. But the city attorney said police would stop pulling over Uber drivers and a new city ordinance would be drafted. The ordinance would require the company Uber, not the individual drivers to obtain a permit.

In July, the new ordinance passed, but Uber drivers continued to be pulled over. North Chicago's attorney says the law is still not clear, and can be misinterpreted by police.

Now, the city attorney says the new law needs to be rewritten and promises that drivers will not be pulled over.

"I think it's ignorant," said Abdullah. "Because the only people they're hurting are the citizens of North Chicago because they're cheating them out of a cheaper ride."

Uber tells the I-Team it is working with the city of North Chicago but contends its drivers don't operate as taxis or limos and shouldn't pay individual municipal fees.

"I felt like North Chicago was out to get me," Edmonston said. "They sent over three, four police cars just to meet us. So, I was kind of nervous. But at the same time, I know I didn't do anything wrong."

There is a state law that currently regulates ride share companies like Uber, but local municipalities can choose to adopt their own laws and regulations.

The North Chicago city attorney says he hopes to better clarify its ordinance in September.
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