A shocking video circulating on the Internet Friday shows a Cleveland bus driver punching a teenage girl during a verbal altercation. The Cleveland-area transit authority has responded to the incident, confirming that the unidentified driver has been removed from his post and that his behavior was "absolutely unacceptable."
"We also saw the video today. Upon review, the driver was removed from duty and suspended. We are investigating," Mary Shaffer, spokeswoman for the greater-area Cleveland RTA, told The Cleveland Leader.
The video, filmed by a fellow bus rider and posted on the website World Star Hip Hop, begins with showing an unidentified teenage girl wearing all black engaging in a verbal dispute with a seated bus driver.
As the dispute escalates, the driver then makes a comment to the teenager which prompts the girl to aggressively touch the bus driver.
The bus driver then stands up and begins walking toward the girl, repeatedly saying, "You're going to jail now."
Suddenly, the driver delivers a heavy uppercut to the unsuspecting young woman.
Passengers on the bus then intervene, telling the driver that he just struck a female.
The bus driver responds to the teenage girl, who is laying on the ground: "Wanna be a man? I'm going to treat you like a man."
The bus driver then attempts to throw the teenager off the bus, but the girl re-boards. The scuffle continues until the two are separated by passengers.
The teenage girl then repeats the driver's phrase from earlier, telling him, "You're going to jail now."
Viewers of the graphic video have expressed mixed reactions to who is at a greater fault in the verbal and physical altercation, with some suggesting that the bus driver was completely out of line, and yet others insisting that the teen girl should have never put her hands on him.
"On a scale of one to reckless, how awful is this bus driver?!" wrote Jessica Ofor on Twitter.
Gary Lewis somewhat agreed, writing, "That bus driver hit that girl something awful and she shouldn't have hit him first."
Still, others were simply blown away by the sudden act of violence.
"Oh nooo, my mouth dropped when I saw that video of the bus driver hitting that girl, I'm still in shock," wrote one commenter on Twitter.
"That bus driver video was scary.... I'm still in shock," said another viewer.
The Greater Cleveland public transportation system, the RTA, released a more general statement Oct. 12 explaining their perspective on the incident, which occurred last month.
"RTA saw the video posted on YouTube of the operator incident on October 11. Through the investigation, we believe the incident occurred on Sept. 18. Upon identifying the driver, he was immediately suspended and removed from duty. His behavior is absolutely unacceptable. RTA apologizes to our customers for this incident. A full investigation continues," the statement reads.