SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A man is facing battery charges after police said he assaulted a Lyft driver near the Santa Barbara Harbor.
The incident occurred at about 10 a.m. on Monday.
Police said three men called Lyft to have a driver pick them up at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on State Street and De La Vina.
The men asked the driver to take them to the harbor. During the drive, police said there was a verbal fight inside the car.
Once the car arrived at the destination, the driver got out of the car.
Multiple witnesses said one of the passengers, identified as 33-year-old Rocky James Scholl, punched the driver at least three or four times in the face.
The driver, believed to be of foreign descent, was bruised and bloodied.
Another witness told police that Scholl allegedly uttered a racial epithet around the time he hit the victim.
Police said the case is currently only being investigated as a battery. Scholl was initially detained by Harbor Patrol officers, then handed over to police. He was booked at the Santa Barbara County jail with bail set at $2,500.
Scholl is no longer in custody, according to authorities. Police said assaults on Lyft, Uber and taxi drivers in Santa Barbara aren't common.
"It's something that does not happen very often, but when it does we take it very seriously," said public information officer Anthony Wagner.
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