Viral video of Cleveland bus driver punching unruly female passenger leads to suspension

CLEVELAND – A bus driver for the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has been indefinitely suspended after being caught on video assaulting a passenger while on duty. The assault went viral late Thursday evening and it showed a heated exchange between the unnamed driver and passenger that quickly escalated.

“RTA saw the video posted on YouTube of the operator incident on October 11,” RTA said in a statement. “Through the investigation, we believe the incident occurred on Sept. 18. Upon identifying the driver, he was immediately suspended and removed from duty. His behavior is absolutely unacceptable.”

The video was first posted on – and has nearly 3,000,000 views – and later on YouTube and other sites. It showed a teenage girl angrily berating the driver with obscenities, threats, and racial slurs.

After the driver responded with a comment about an apparent scar on her face, she appears to assault the driver but a bystander blocked the view. The driver stands up, repeatedly says “You’re going to jail, now” – it is a federal offense to assault a public transportation worker – and hits the girl with an uppercut before physically throwing her off of the bus.

The girl gets back on the bus and charges the driver again and is choked and thrown to the floor. The person who shot the original video, along with others on the bus, appeared to help instigate the fight before trying to chastise the driver for hitting the girl.

“I don’t care,” the driver said. “She wants to act like a man, I’m going to treat you like a man.” The fight ends after the driver finally leaves the bus. The driver’s identity is being withheld pending the full investigation.

Follow Jay Scott Smith on Twitter @JayScottSmith