Cleveland Bus Driver Suspended After Decking Passenger On YouTube Video

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

73 thoughts on “Cleveland Bus Driver Suspended After Decking Passenger On YouTube Video”

  1. Shaxn 1, February 13, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Anyone who thinks it is ok to hit a woman has real issues. This is not how I would expect a Civial Servant to act. He is paid by tax dallars what a shame that our society would condone his behavior. He needs to be fired and she deserves compensatin even if she has a loud mouth. He should have called the police and had her removed and none of this would have happened. He should have done his JOB but he choose to engage in a verbal dispute with this young lady.
    You’re making the wrong assumption. I told the lawyer to turn his cell phone off.

  2. Anyone who thinks it is ok to hit a woman has real issues. This is not how I would expect a Civial Servant to act. He is paid by tax dallars what a shame that our society would condone his behavior. He needs to be fired and she deserves compensatin even if she has a loud mouth. He should have called the police and had her removed and none of this would have happened. He should have done his JOB but he choose to engage in a verbal dispute with this young lady.

  3. nick spinelli 1, October 15, 2012 at 11:24 am

    She is one tough woman. Most guys wouldn’t get up after that uppercut. This is life in the city all you white, suburban folk. I’m not saying it’s right @ all. The men in the Spinelli family were taught men NEVER hit women and to that rule there are NO exceptions. This is not shocking to me, I rode mass transit in big cities for many years.
    Told off a lawyer using his cell phone on the Chicago Metra train because I was getting tired of listening to it. Saw a woman breast feeding her baby on the train early in the morning. Nobody ever got assaulted.

  4. i feel that no one has the right to hit ,or abruse another person, The young should never have hit the driver ,to bad ,should not lose his job, I am a mother i had four boys and taught them to respect ladies, but we need to act respondsiable

  5. Balanced 1 said:

    “An armed society is a polite society.”

    I submit the author of the above quote clearly doesn’t treat gunshot wounds for a living.

  6. Just look at this rabid defense:

    “Neither of them should have been subjected to the verbal abuse of the other.”

    “So, BOTH were at fault for engaging in the first place with greater fault on his part b/c, as the person in charge of the bus, he had a responsibility to maintain the peace and he fully participated in the situation and actively participated in the escalation that got out of control.”

    I mean, Betty might as well be claiming she deserves a medal for her actions.

    Contrast those with the calm reasoned responses of the people who are willing to look at everyone’s behavior in the same light. Not a trace of loaded language or prejudice to be found. Also, the solutions offered are beautiful in their simplicity. I mean, if calls for more violence don’t help reduce violence, I don’t know what will.

    “More beatdowns like this by public officials and service providers are welcome to help bring some saneness to this overly tolerant and rude society we seem to errantly encourage in the name of “freedom(s)”.”

    “I applaud him for taking out the trash”

    ” Maybe while she recovers from her broken jaw, she can learn how to speak proper English.”


    “Welcome to the new world, ladies. You want equal pay, equal this, and equal that? Fine. You hit me, I’m gonna beat your tuchas down.”

    “if you out your hands on someone without permission, you deserved to get a beating. Period. “

  7. The only person at fault, bettykath, is the one who started the violence. It doesn’t matter what gender that person is or how big they are – they escalated it to violence.

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me… Or so they say. I don’t punch people over their words because that is escalating to a different level of disagreement – a physical one. But if someone attacks me, yes, I’ll be hitting back to make sure they don’t do it again, and I don’t care what gender or how big they are. The only thing that would cause me to pause would be if I thought they had a mental handicap or were simply too young to understand what they were doing.

    I find it odd that some people keep making it about gender – it’s almost like they don’t want the genders to be equal – or that we should treat women as special snowflakes. And we shouldn’t. I see Bettykath excusing the woman because someone said something mean to her… Oh well, that doesn’t mean she should hit somebody. In fact, I know a few tiny women that act exactly like that (except I know they are always the perpetrators of the conflict) simply because they know that they can escalate to whatever level they want, it doesn’t matter… If they hit a person, especially a guy, someone will defend them. I’ve been in relationships with women like this. Excusing their behavior because of gender or size is complete bullshit and it doesn’t breed a better society, it breeds a worse one.

  8. Shady, If I accept your premise, that the one who hits first is totally at fault no matter the provocation, then George Zimmerman needs to be set free. His claim, as the only survivor, is that Trayvon Martin came out of the darkness and attacked him. With your rationale, the preceding 10-15 minutes of Zimmerman profiling, stalking, and pursuing Martin is irrelevant and Martin deserved being shot dead.

    Just so I’m not misunderstood, I don’t accept your premise. The entire sequence of events needs to be considered. As Gyges said, the power imbalance also needs to be considered.

  9. Gene,

    Ah. For the record, I called the driver an “overly aggressive (gene’s favorite profanity)” I really liked the alliteration.

  10. Gyges,

    Four words were added to the moderation filter in during your recent absence: f*ck, b*tch, b*stard (one of my favorites) and a**hole. I suspect the change had to do with a spat of really ridiculous trolls who specialized in drive-by bouts of pure profanity practically sans content, but no confirmation of this has been had.

  11. “No they were not BOTH acting badly to the same degree. She HIT him first.
    The only double standard here is that shown by people who seem to think that it’s okay for a woman to physically assault a man and not think that she is going to be resisted.”

    You know, if we were talking about two passengers on a bus, you might have a point. But we’re not. We’re talking about two people with a clear power in-balance. Unless you think that she can call the cops and have him removed from the bus? Further more, I bet there’s all sorts of instructions in his training about how to handle situations that might arise like this. I bet NONE of them involve insulting people and then hitting them.

    Just so that you can stop your absurd straw man: BOTH PEOPLE WERE IN THE WRONG. The equation’s very simple, if she behaved badly then by yelling and insulting him then by responding in kind, he behaved badly too. If she wasn’t justified in hitting him, he wasn’t justified in hitting her. Despite the fact that you want to ignore everything the driver did preceding getting slapped: they both were involved in escalating it to physical confrontation. You don’t get to claim self defense when you pick the fight, and even if you did, the self defense isn’t a “go wild card.”

    I for one am glad to live in a society where we’re slowly figuring out that the answer to violence isn’t more violence.

  12. Shady, Interesting story but there is a big difference. In your story, there were deescalation attempts. In the current situation, the person who should have been making the deescalation attempts was fully engaged in the escalation that cost him his job (I hope).

  13. There was another situation on the bus where a younger black man got into a verbal altercation with an older white man. I think it was in Oakland? The younger man ignored de-escalation attempts and finally assaulted the older man. However to his surprise, things didn’t go the way he thought they would and he ended up on the wrong side of a behind kicking. I thought that was funny. Why? Because a person who tried to verbally and then physically bully someone found out the hard way that not everybody is a pushover.

    It’s the same situation here. Race and gender may excite people’s interest but the underlying message is the same-DON’T START FIGHTS. Because you just might get handled.

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