The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has terminated the services of 22-year employee Artis Hughes, over an incident we previously reported on, in which he physically assaulted 25-year-old Shi'dea Lane, while on duty.
The 59-year-old East Cleveland resident punched the girl, provoked by verbal banter, on September 18. However evident the provocation, the Transit Authority did not deem it cause for self-defense.
“Mr. Hughes claims that hispassenger actions were in self-defense. The evidence does not support that claim,” the RTA statement reads, as cited by TMZ.
The bus company puts Hughes at fault for the assault, for failing to comply with his duties and to observe procedure.
“We expect our employees to diffuse any potential situation. We do not believe that Mr. Hughes took the proper steps to diffuse this situation. [...] The proper procedure would have been to pull over and stop the bus, then call Transit Police for assistance,” their spokesperson explained.
He punched the young woman in the face, threw her on the floor, grabbed her hair, and forcefully kicked her out of the bus.
“She wanna be a man, I'm gonna treat you like a man,” Hughes said.
Hughes has many supporters that dub his actions justified. A petition circulated last month to prevent him from losing his job, with more than 1,000 people expressing discontent over the incident.
“As a bus driver, mr. Hughes was lied to, insulted, threatened and eventually attacked by one of the passagers. He was clearly justified in striking back. Were he to suffer any negative consequences to his employment as a result of defending himself and striking back, this would set a disasterous precedent: he and other employees would legitimately believe that their workplace expects them to put up with harrassment, and that they will lose their jobs if they choose to stand up for themselves,” the petition read.
However, Ms. Lane's abuse and confrontational behavior did not go unnoticed, prompting the RTA to take action against her.
“The customer was out of line and charges have been filed against her,” the RTA spokesperson added.