A fed up Florida bus driver pummeled a white passenger until he was unconscious. Now, his union is fighting to get his job back, saying the Black driver was provoked after the man repeatedly lobbed racial slurs and spat on him, CBS12 News reports.
The violent beatdown was captured on Palm Tran bus video in May, and was recently released, showing a dispute about bus fare with the bus driver and the drunken passenger.
The white passenger hurled racial slurs at the driver who taunted him while he was behind the wheel, calling him the n-word. He also made threats and made derogatory remarks before the driver warned him to stop.
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) August 9, 2018
“You call me n— one more time! You call me n—– one more time and I’m gonna (inaudible) your (expletive)!” shouted the fed up Palm Tran bus driver.
The belligerent passenger then spat on the driver.
The video shows the driver viciously hitting the man repeatedly until he was rendered unconscious, laying curled up at the base of the bus door.
There were only a few passengers on the bus who witnessed the confrontation.
The bus drivers’ union argues that the rowdy passenger taunted the driver for at least 15 minutes until the driver reached a breaking point.
“Emotionally the driver lost it, and reacted in self-defense as well as reacted to being spit upon,” said Dwight Mattingly, president of Amalgamated Transit Union local 1577, which represents Palm Tran drivers.
Palm Tran called the bus driver’s actions “reprehensible” in a letter to the bus driver dated August 6. They called the vicious act, “an egregious and abhorrent level of misconduct,” against the passenger.
The union says because of the circumstances, the driver didn’t deserve to get canned.
“I think there’s no place in our society for that use of language and I think anybody’s gonna have a reaction after being spat upon and racially degraded,” Mattingly said.
The union is considering a move to challenge the driver’s dismissal as an unjust termination in an effort to get his job back.