Last week it was reported that a Cleveland bus driver, who punched a female passenger with a vicious uppercut before physically forcing her off of the bus, had been suspended. Now supporters are coming to the defense of the 22-year RTA employee.
The incident, which took place on September 18, was caught on tape and posted on YouTube, where it has been seen more than 2.5 million times. The video shows 25-year-old Shidea Lane yelling at the bus driver, Artis Hughes.
After hurling expletives and trading threats with Artis, including one in which the 59-year-old grandfather quipped that he would have his granddaughter beat up the woman, Shidea appeared to physically assault the bus driver, prompting him to get out of his seat and strike her with an uppercut to the chin.
Shidea told Fox 8 her version of what started the altercation. “He didn’t think I had any money to get on the bus and I was looking for it trying to tell him, ‘I have money to get on the bus; can you just let me find it?’ From there it just escalated.”
Shidea declined to confirm whether she physically assaulted the driver in any way, opting instead to speak to her lawyer first. However, she did note her utter shock at Artis’ actions. “It’s amazing to see how a man would actually hit a woman that hard.” Said a shocked Shidea, who compared Artis’ punch to one from the famously violent videogame, "Mortal Kombat."
Meanwhile, Artis has become the subject of a petition asking the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to reinstate the suspended bus driver. The petition asserts that Artis was justified in his actions. According to www.syracuse.com, the petition reads:
“If men refuse to strike back, fearing that the law will favor their female abusers over them, we create an environment in which women can harass and victimize men with impunity.” The petition continues, “Instead, a man’s decision to fight back against a woman should be respected…the bus driver was the real victim and was justified in hitting back.”
In addition to the petition, which has over 1,000 signatures, a Facebook page titled “In defense of Cleveland RTA Driver not being fired” has over 14,000 “likes” from people supporting Artis’ actions.
No matter the final outcome, Shidea said she’s learned a lesson from the incident.
"If something like that escalates, I will just remove myself," she told Fox News.
The RTA has not responded to Shidea’s interview or the petition and no permanent decision regarding Artis’ employment status has been released as of press time.
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