The video below shows a disturbing scene where a Cleveland municipal bus driver decked an obnoxious female passenger after a loud and profane shouting match. It is equally disturbing to hear the laughing of some of the other passengers on the bus — a shocking example of a moral abyss in our society.
The 22-year veteran of the Regional Transit Authority has been suspended. He is shown saying that “She want to be a man, I’m gonna treat you like a man” after decking her. This of course misses the point that you cannot deck men or women for verbal abuse on a city bus.
The question is the liability for the city. The driver was clearly working at the time for purposes of respondeat superior. However, is this a “frolic or a detour” from this scope of employment? Drivers are trained not to get involved in fights, but to call police. Yet, the driver was acting to “keep order” on the bus and could be seen as performing a task related to this job, even if it was done in violation of city guidelines. Even if vicarious liability is not applicable, there is straight negligence in firing or training or supervision that could be alleged. We often see these cases with security staff who use excessive force but a bus driver is not a security personnel position.
As for the driver, this is clearly assault and battery under torts as well as a potentially criminal act. Either way, the suspension is a predictable move as would eventual termination.
[WARNING: The video is peppered with curse words and racial slurs.]
Warning the video below shows violence and includes graphic and racist elements:
Source: Washington Post