Lehigh Valley

No Charges for Lehigh Valley Couple Making Racist Comments in Lyft Driver's Video

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said, "No criminal charges would apply to the conduct – reprehensible though it might be"

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A Lehigh County bar owner and her boyfriend will not face charges after a video of a ride-share driver refusing them a ride over racist comments went viral earlier this month.

On Monday, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said, "No criminal charges would apply to the conduct – reprehensible though it might be."

"After investigation and conferring with the District Attorney's Office, no charges are to be filed," Catasauqua Police Chief Douglas F. Kish said in a release.

James Bode, the Lyft driver, posted the viral video from inside his car onto his Facebook page. The video generated millions of views across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and beyond.

The caught-on-camera moments happened the night of May 13 outside of Catasauqua bar Fossil’s Last Stand in Lehigh County.

The borough's police department confirmed the woman seen getting into the Lyft is Jackie Harford, who owns Fossil’s.

The video, just over a minute long, starts when Harford gets into Bode's car. He asks if the ride is for "Jackie" and she confirms it is.

“You’re like a white guy," Harford says as she gets into the car on the rear passenger side. Bode asks, "What’s that?"

"Are you, like, a white guy?" asks Harford, who is then making her way to the center of the car. "You’re like, a normal guy?" Harford says. "You speak English?"

There's a quick pause before Harford laughs, pats Bode's shoulder and apologizes. Bode then tells her to get out of the car, saying what Harford said was inappropriate.

"If somebody was not white, sitting in this seat, what would be the difference?" Bode asked.

The car’s rear passenger door is still open, and Bode repeats to a man, who police said is Harford's boyfriend, standing outside the car that he won't be taking the ride.

"Really?" the man says, "You’re a f-----g a--hole."

Bode points toward the camera inside the car and tells the boyfriend it's all on video.

“I’m gonna punch you in the f-----g face,” the man says back to Bode.

Bode calls the couple “racist f---s,” as Harford gets out of the car.

That's when the man calls him an "[n-word] lover."

Bode rolls down the window and tells the couple he's calling the police.

Catasauqua Police Chief Douglas Tish confirmed Bode filed a police report at 10:27 p.m. the same night.

Lyft responded to a version of Bode's video has more than 3.3 million views on Twitter.

"We are incredibly grateful to Lyft driver @Jameswb333 for instantly shutting down this hate & upholding our no tolerance anti-discrimination policies," Lyft said. "We're looking into these riders & are in touch with James to show our thanks."

Fossil's Last Stand's website and Facebook page have been deactivated.

Yelp and TripAdvisor shut down the comments for both of the bar's pages after they were flooded with negative reviews and one-star ratings.

Efforts to reach Bode have been unsuccessful, however, in a post last week, Bode expressed gratitude for the support he's seen.

“But this is the way it should be everywhere, every time," Bode wrote. "I shouldn’t be ‘the guy’ who did it or said it…we should all be that person. Speak up if you’re uncomfortable with it because it makes them uncomfortable, as they should be. F**k racism,” Bode wrote.

NBC10's Deanna Durante said the Lyft driver's father passed away last year and folks who saw the viral video are donating to cover his funeral expenses. Others are sharing his Lyft handle encouraging tips.

Fossil's Last Stand has remained closed.

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