Florida Uber driver shoots and kills man who was ‘stalking’ his own girlfriend and mistakenly believed she had been picked up by Uber
The victim chased down the Uber victim and ‘threatened with what the Uber driver [mistakenly], assumed was a pistol’ because he thought his girlfriend was inside the vehicle
Robert Westlake, a trainee cop moonlighting as an Uber driver, fatally shot 34-year-old Jason Boek in Florida on Tuesday in what authorities said was the ‘perfect’ stand your ground shooting, infuriating the victim’s family and igniting social media backlash
Boek had been drinking at a bar with his girlfriend Jessica when the pair got into a fight and he left in a rage
When Jessica helped another female bar patron who was drunk into a car, Boek followed Westlake’s car mistakenly thinking his girlfriend was inside
A belligerent Boek pulled up next to Westlake’s car then got out and the engaged in a heated exchange
Boek threatened to ‘f*** up’ the Uber driver who he thought had collected Jessica from a bar, but the passenger was in fact the drunk woman who Jessica helped into the vehicle to get her home safely
Dashcam video shows him shouting: ‘I’ve got a pistol. Do you want me to shoot?’ Westlake, 37, who has just finished the police academy, fired one shot to his chest
Boek, a 34-year-old recent dad and barber, died at the scene in Winter Haven, but it turned out he had only a cell phone in his hand, instead of a firearm during the exchange
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has roiled the shooting incident by his controversial comments when he said Westlake did ‘exactly the right thing’ and that the shooting was ‘justifiable’
Judd described the case as a ‘perfect’ and ‘classic’ stand your ground killing
Story: Uber driver Robert Westlake [left] shot Jason Boek [right] dead on Tuesday morning after Boek approached his Uber threatening him with a pistol. Trainee police officer Westlake, shot before realizing Boek was actually holding a cell phone
A Florida Uber driver and trainee cop will not face charges for shooting and killing a man who threatened him with a pistol on the road and has been congratulated by police for a ‘perfect’ stand your ground case which has divided public opinion.
Robert Westlake, 37, the driver, was taking a drunk woman home from the Grove bar in Winter Haven in the early hours of Tuesday morning when Jason Boek, 34, pulled his pick-up truck up in front of him.
Boek mistakenly thought his girlfriend was in the back of the car. The couple had been fighting and he texted her to say he wanted to ‘f*** up the Uber driver’ after watching the vehicle arrive at the bar where she’d been and where he was watching her.
Dashcam footage taken by a camera in Westlake’s car shows him getting out of the truck and shouting: ‘I’ve got a pistol. Do you want me to shoot you?’ as he approaches the Uber. He was not holding a gun but had his cell phone in his hand.
Westlake, who has just finished police academy training and works as a security guard, did have a weapon. As Boek approached him, he fired one shot which struck him in the chest.
Shooting victim Jason Boek [left] had been ‘stalking’ his girlfriend Jessica [right], the night he was shot
It turned out that when trainee cop and Uber driver Westlake shot Boek in the early hours of Tuesday morning after Boek approached his Uber threatening him with a pistol. The victim did not actually have a gun. Boek was holding a cell phone, still Westlake fired one shot which hit him in the chest
The Uber driver then called 911 and tried to perform CPR on Boek who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Westlake has a concealed carry permit. Uber drivers are allowed to carry guns so long as they follow local laws.
To add to the controversy around the shooting Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd described the killing as a ‘perfect’ and ‘classic’ stand your ground case.
However Boek’s family and others say Westlake had more choices but to shoot.
They criticized the stand your ground law which they called a ‘get out of jail free card’. The bereaved family claimed police would not have been so lenient if the Uber driver wasn’t white or a police officer in waiting.
At a press conference where he addressed the incident on Tuesday, Sheriff Judd referred to Boek as a ‘goofball’ as he teed off on the dead man.
‘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’, Judd said
In a warning to the ‘hotheads of the community,’ he continued: ‘Good people carry guns and they will shoot you. A lot. Graveyard dead. Leave people alone.’
Sheriff Grady ran through the sequence of events, describing Boek’s girlfriend as a ‘Good Samaritan’ who was merely trying to help another woman by getting her home safely when she’d had too much to drink.
This was a justifiable homicide all day long. This is a classic stand your ground case
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd
He also pointed to the text messages Boek sent his girlfriend before he was shot and said they helped him decide that the Uber driver acted within the law.
‘I appreciate Jason giving us his criminal intent beforehand, in writing, it helps create a perfect stand your ground for the Uber driver, Robert Westlake.’
Later, he said: ‘At the end of the day, the message is clear: Don’t mess with the Uber driver.
‘Leave the Uber driver alone cause he just may be a certified police officer in waiting and when you force him off the road and threaten to shoot him while holding a cell phone in your right hand, which is a shiny object, in a second, you could get shot and killed.’
The reaction of authorities in Polk county towards the shooting has aroused the ire of commentators
‘This was a justifiable homicide all day long, ‘ Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd [photo] has roiled the shootng incident by his controversial comments that pilloried the victim.
Westlake told NBC afterwards that he did not want to shoot the man but felt he may lose his life if he didn’t.
‘No one goes out with a concealed carry weapon permit looking to use their
firearm. They have it in case they need to use it to protect themselves,’ he said.
Boek’s family say they are ‘outraged’ by how police have handled the case. They told NBC that Westlake had other options than to shoot.
One commentator points out that Uber prohibit’s it’s drivers carrying firearms
Hot head: Boek reportedly had a lengthy rap sheet which included charges for battery, but his family say the Uber driver did not have to kill him. The 34-year-old was a barber and had a young son
Another critic of the police message ascribes official reaction to Boek’s death to bias in favour of White police officers
He worked as a barber and has a young son with a different woman. The boy had just started kindergarten.
The family’s complaints were echoed by others on Twitter who criticized the controversial stand your ground law.
‘Here we go with this stand your ground mess in Florida. Of course, the Uber driver was an off duty white cop,’ said one user.
‘Wannabe cop shoots man with cell phone. Sheriff says that’s groovy. Killers want to kill,’ another quipped.
Distaste with law enforcement’s defensive posture is pervasive
‘Wannabe cop shoots man with cell phone. Sheriff says that’s groovy. Killers want to kill’ – Critics were quick to pour scorn on the controversial stand your ground law
Uber said it would cooperate with police inquiries.
In a statement, the company said: ‘We are saddened by this unfortunate incident and will continue to work with police on their investigation.’
Boek had a lengthy rap sheet which included charges for battery. He had borrowed the Ford he was driving from a friend.
Police in describing the sequence of events bolstered the account by revealing that Boek had an extensive criminal record
The victim Jason Boek, seen attending to a client in his barber shop [photo]. His friends said he was talented and loved his job
They had been drinking in the bar together when he left in a rage. When police searched the truck after his death, they found a methamphetamine pipe.
In texts to his girlfriend before he followed the car, he called her a ‘w****’ and threatened to beat up any man she was with.
They had been drinking in the bar together when he left in a rage. He continued to watch her at the scene afterwards which is when he saw her help the woman into the Uber.
He continued to watch her at the scene afterwards which is when he saw her help the woman into the Uber.
The girlfriend, the drunk woman and the Uber driver had never met before.
The girlfriend is yet to make a public comment about Boek’s death.
Friends have paid tribute to him on social media as a talented barber.
The mother of his young son said: ‘This is a mothers worst nightmare.
‘I’m sick and broken today but I know my sweet Jason is in a better place.
‘His legacy will grow with our son as he gets older and he will know that his dad truly loved him.’
Sheriff Judd Grady’s statement:
‘Whenever people have had too much to drink we tell them call a taxi or call an Uber. Don’t drink and drive.
‘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.
‘Neither Jasmine or Jessica or Uber driver know each other. This is just traditional, “I’ve had too much to drink”. Uber driver wheels up, Jessica puts Jasmine in the car.
(Holds up a picture of Boek) ‘Goofball here thinking his girlfriend is in the Uber, as you can see, he texts. It’s nice of him to text is intent, what all he’s going to do to the Uber driver. The Uber driver obviously has no idea until a Ford F250 pickup truck pulls right up on his bumper with bright lights Uber driver says, “hmm I wonder who this guy is.”
At the end of the day, the message is clear: Don’t mess with the Uber driver.
‘He tailgates him for a minute then he rides up beside him, rides beside him for a couple of seconds, then starts to pass him and forces him to a stop in the roadway. When he does that, Jason jumps out of his pickup truck and says “You know I got a pistol, you want me to shoot you?”
‘That was a terrible mistake on Jason’s part because the Uber driver not only happens to be licensed to carry a concealed firearm but he just finished the police academy so he understands the law.
‘When Jason jumps out of his truck after forcing him off of the road is rapidly approaching him and saying, “You know I’ve got a pistol.” He’s holding a cell phone in his right hand coming up from his waist.
‘When he does that, our shooter, Robert, shoots him one time in the chest and down he goes. Robert immediately calls 911, he talks in police, he tries to contain the bleeding and he starts doing CPR and you can hear as he gives a rendition of the suspect Jason taking his last breath.
‘Jasmine, she’s in the back still drunk, she doesn’t know second from come here. She hears all this after the fact. Jessica was just trying to be a Good Samaritan.
‘At the end of the day, the message is clear: Don’t mess with the Uber driver. Leave the Uber driver alone cause he just may be a certified police officer in waiting and when you force him off the road and threaten to shoot him while holding a cell phone in your right hand, which is a shiny object, in a second, you could get shot and killed.
‘This is 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. Uber driver is just doing his job. He has no clue what’s happening until a guy pulls up alongside him on the road and in seconds is on him saying “I got a pistol. You want me to shoot you?” He defends himself.
‘Here’s a message for the hotheads of the community: Don’t do that stuff. Good people carry guns. And they will shoot you. A lot. Graveyard dead. Leave people alone. It’s a new day in the state of Florida and in the US. You may be used to bullying people and being bigger and stronger and beating people up and slamming their heads into the pavement and pulling knives on them. I highly recommend against that if you value your life.
‘Cause Jason here thought he’d get out and throw a little threat on the Uber driver. I appreciate Jason giving us his criminal intent beforehand, in writing, it helps create a perfect stand your ground for the Uber driver Robert Westlake.
‘He broke the law and he stands no more. He was a batterer at one time. This picture is flattering compared to how he looked rolling out of that truck.
‘Leave people alone. They may have a gun and shoot you. The Uber driver Robert did exactly the right thing to protect himself and ostensibly the passenger.’