I guess we should have expected this outcome but if I’m being honest I sort of feel a little bad for Artis Hughes, aka, the uppercutting bus driver from Cleveland, OH. After issuing “one of the most talked about uppercuts” ever, as Fox News put it, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has decided to terminate Artis from his position after hitting a female passenger, Shidea Lane, last month.
Channel 5 News in Cleveland posted the statement from RTA, which read:
RTA values its employees and expects employees to follow rules, regulations and policies. Each employee is advised of the rules as part of their employment.
There are certain actions by our employees that are so serious that the employee is subject to immediate discharge.
One of those actions is a use of force against a member of the public.
In the Artis Hughes situation, the customer was out of line and charges have been filed against her.
However, while customers may be challenging or difficult to handle, RTA employees are instructed to exercise restraint and to conduct themselves professionally at all times.**
Mr. Hughes claims that his actions were in self-defense. The evidence does not support that claim.
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.
Employees should take precautions in situations such as this one to protect the safety of other RTA customers and the public. Mr. Hughes did not take the proper precautions, nor did he follow procedure.
For the above reasons, Mr. Hughes has been terminated from RTA.
RTA, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Fraternal Order of Police have established a joint Labor/Management Committee to discuss and implement strategies to enhance the safety of all employees.
RTA cited for the termination ‘RTA Employee Handbook Dischargeable Offense #5′ which says:
“Use of overt force, such as shoving, pushing, striking of any blows in any manner or fashion against another employee, supervisor, management personnel or such actions against members of the public while in the course and scope of employment or at any time while on company property. The only exception shall be where it is clearly established that the employee acted in self-defense.”
I’m curious if RTA missed the part where Shidea spit on Artis. Granted his response certainly qualifies as excessive force, but she was clearly the initial aggressor. I’m not sure how I feel about this decision. What do you think?