The Cleveland city bus driver who was caught on film winding up and walloping a rowdy young female passenger has now joined the ranks of the country’s unemployed.
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The video of Artis Hughes‘ notorious uppercut went viral and sparked controversy that continued for weeks. The video showed Shi’ Dea Lane, 25, boarding Hughes’ bus and behaving in a disorderly manner. The 59-year-old burly bus driver and Lane got into a war of nasty words and the argument escalated. Witnesses state that Lane spit on Hughes, a claim her lawyer denies. Hughes is clearly seen striking Lane with a fierce uppercut to the jaw after she pushes him.
He then forcibly removed her from his bus.
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Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority spokeswoman Mary Shaffer, via Cleveland.com, had this to sat of Hughes’ actions: “The employee handbook says an employee can be discharged if he uses overt force, strikes … a member of the public,” she said. “We understand he feels that his actions were in self-defense, but we disagree. The appropriate action should have been to pull over the bus and alert transit police and let them handle it.”
At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon outside the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268, Hughes and his representatives stated that a grievance against the firing would be filed.
Hughes was suspended from his post without pay after the video of his altercation with Lane surfaced online. The city prosecutor charged the driver with assault and Lane with disorderly conduct.
Hughes said at the press conference that he felt betrayed by the transit authority.
“I feel let down,” he said. “I feel like they should support their drivers. I was just trying to do my job. … I’ve run over those events in my mind 1,000 times and I don’t know what I could have done differently.”