The Greater Cleveland RTA bus driver depicted in a viral video punching a passenger has been fired, the RTA said today.
Artis Hughes, 59, of Cleveland, was terminated by the RTA today because he did not follow RTA protocol in handling an unruly passenger on a route Sept. 18 in Beachwood, the RTA said.
Shidea Lane, 25, reportedly boarded an RTA #5 bus Sept. 18 without paying. A dispute began —which was recorded on a cell phone and later became a viral video — that ended in the notorious uppercut delivered by the angry bus driver.
Though the RTA acknowledged in a press release that Lane was out of line that day, the company asserted that Hughes did not react properly to the threat, and his use of force against a passenger directly violates the company's employee policy.
"RTA employees are instructed to exercise restraint and to conduct themselves professionally at all times," the release reads.
It continues, "Mr. Hughes claims that his actions were in self-defense. The evidence does not support that claim."
Hughes should have pulled the bus over and called police, the release states.
Hughes' employment record includes a few disciplinary actions for infractions including wearing headphones while driving and violating minor procedures.
Hughes has pleaded not guilty to assault, a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. He's requested a jury trial, which is scheduled for the end of November.
Lane has pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.