The 16-minute video recording of the altercation was uploaded onto YouTube by Lettman on Friday to show just how wrong ridesharing can go. Throughout the footage, Ortiz is seen calling the police, a Lyft representative and even reaching out to another friend through FaceTime.
The video begins as Ortiz and his two friends are harassing Lettman after he reportedly refused to let the group play their own music during their ride. The initial exchange, during which Lettman denied their request, and the subsequent argument that led to Lettman pulling the car over, were not captured on film. Lettman decided to begin recording the incident once Ortiz phoned the cops.
"You know that you're illegally recording me, right?" Ortiz tells Lettman as he's on the phone with a NYPD dispatcher. "I'm going to make sure while you're recording this that you never have a job as a Lyft driver again."
"Not only do I work for CityMD, but I have another alternative job [and] I am going to make sure that you never have a job as a f**king driver again, you piece of sh*t," he added.
New York is a one-party consent state, which means that it's legal to record someone as long as one person involved has consented. As such, since that the events unfolded in Lettman's car and he was the target of the verbal assault, he was within his rights to record the events.
After getting off the phone with the police, Ortiz then began speaking with a Lyft representative about the situation.
"The only thing I did is when I entered the vehicle I asked the gentlemen about the music, and the gentleman told me ‘no' very, very… abruptly… he got really defensive… maybe because I'm not black or anything like that," the frustrated passenger said. "I am going to file a lawsuit against you guys because I had to stop my day, because your driver assumed because the color of my complexion wasn't black that I asked for music, and it was a problem."
After complaining to the Lyft official about being "charged $8.01 for asking for music," the phone conversation became even more heated as Ortiz told the rep that he was "not being racist."
"I came out of a gay club, and your driver is racist against gay people," Ortiz said. "I called the police to protect myself because I know my legal rights as an American citizen… a legal citizen that voted for [US President Donald] Trump."
Getting more and more defensive with the Lyft representative, Ortiz eventually decides to end that conversation, calling the representative a "piece of sh*t." Not done complaining, Ortiz then FaceTimed with a friend to talk about his troubles.
"Yo, boo, tell me why I'm in a Lyft and the ni**a f**king pulled over," he says, before putting his phone in Lettman's face. "The ni**a's recording me without my consent… because I asked for music."
Though the unidentified friend does suggest getting another rideshare, the New Yorker indicated he refused to do so until police arrived on the scene because "this fa**ot charged me [for the ride]."
Though Lettman stayed silent for the majority of the recording, he did speak for a quick moment, politely informing Ortiz that his vehicle does state that the ride may be recorded. Despite this statement and Ortiz's friend telling him that "there are bigger crimes happening now," the upset passenger refused to let the incident go.
"I'm not leaving. I'm going to make your night a living hell until the cops get here because you decided to record me all because I asked for music," he said. "I bet you if I was black and ‘black lives matter,' he would've put the music on."
"F**k black lives matter. Every f**king life matters. This is the state of New York. This is the United States. Every f**king life matters, it doesn't matter what complexion you are [or] what sexual orientation you are," Ortiz continued.
The video ends just as Ortiz gets ready to repeat his argument yet again.
In a GoFundMe page Lettman established on Friday, he explained that after he cut off the video, he decided to call the police himself because he was starting to fear for his safety. He later detailed that his Lyft account was suspended pending an investigation.
"I didn't ask for this nor did I want this," Lettman wrote. "I know America is better than this. and despite the hate we have to deal with from a few, my heart tells me, the world is mostly good. I ask for help, so I can get myself off the ground and back to providing for my family again."
Though it's unclear if the Lyft investigation has wrapped up, Lettman did note that he is still with the company. The GoFundMe campaign has surpassed the initial $20,000 goal, collecting more than $25,000.
As for Ortiz, he was fired from his job at urgent care clinic CityMD, according to Instinct Magazine. The New Yorker was also forced to change his number after receiving an alarming number of hateful calls. Ortiz had recited his phone number in the video recording.