$10.4M in settlements paid by ride-sharing companies to fund anti-violence programs

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CHICAGO — Around $10.4 million in settlements paid by Lyft, Uber and Via to the city of Chicago over their use of background checks will be used to fund youth mentoring and anti-violence efforts, the city announced Thursday.

The companies agreed to pay after officials found the background checks they used to screen drivers were inconsistent with rules laid out in the local ordinance. WGN Investigates was the first to expose a major problem with the background checks, reporting in October that a Lyft driver once convicted of a felony terrorism-related charge had been picking up passengers for months.

Uber agreed to pay $6.4 million afterwards, and all the ride-sharing companies ran new checks on their drivers. As a result, Lyft is also paying $4 million and Via is paying $62,500 in settlements. The total $10.4 million will be used to infuse some dollars into youth violence prevention.

“The future success of Chicago depends on the investments we make today in our youth,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "Further, the settlement will allow us to further promote public safety by allowing for us to expand violence prevention initiatives.”

Among the programs to receive funding is Becoming a Man (BAM), which a Crime Lab study found cuts violent-crime arrests among youth in half, according to the city.

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