Taco Bell marketing employee fired after attack on Uber driver

A man who was caught on dashboard-camera video repeatedly punching an Uber driver in Costa Mesa was facing possible misdemeanor charges on Tuesday-- and searching for a new job.

The attack, video of which was posted online and aired repeatedly in news broadcasts, occurred about 8:10 p.m. Friday in the 1800 block of Newport Boulevard, Costa Mesa police Lt. Joyce Lapointe said.

Benjamin Golden, 32, of Newport Beach, was booked on suspicion of assault and battery and being drunk in public, Lapointe said. The Uber driver, Edward Caban, was struck several times during the assault but was not seriously injured.

Golden, who worked in Taco Bell's marketing department, called for an Uber driver to pick him up from a bar in Newport Beach Friday night, according to Lt. Greg Scott.

Golden had trouble giving the driver directions where he wanted to go, Scott said. The driver eventually stopped in the parking lot at 1835 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa and ordered Golden out of the car, Scott said.

Angered by the ejection, Golden "punched and slapped the side of the driver's face," Scott said.

On the video, Golden can be seen in the back seat of the Uber car with the door open, but he leans forward and repeatedly hits the driver in the head, then grabs him by the hair and tries to slam his head into the driver's-side door window.

The driver, acting in self-defense, pepper-sprayed Golden, Scott said. According to Taco Bell, Golden has been fired over the attack. "Given the behavior of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us," according to the company. "We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help."

Messages left with Golden at his work phone number and email were not immediately returned. Golden was released from custody with a written promise to appear in court.

Caban posted dashboard camera images of the attack on YouTube, and the video was reviewed by investigators, police said.

Caban said he is also looking for work, because he no longer feels safe
working as an Uber driver, saying, "I didn't suffer anything more than just a couple of bruises, but I was
definitely shaken up by the incident and I don't plan on ever driving for Uber again."

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