Artis Hughes, the Cleveland bus driver who infamously gave an uppercut to an irate female passenger, has been terminated by the RTA following an official probe into the incident.
The 25-year transportation veteran was secretly videotaped striking Shi'dea Lane by another passenger during a routine bus trip. The video was eventually posted online and immediately went viral on social networking sites and Hughes has since been fired following a review.
"The employee handbook says an employee can be discharged if he uses overt force, strikes ... a member of the public," Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority spokeswoman Mary Shaffer said in a public statement. "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."
Lane, 25, was seen in the video lunging at Hughes, 59, during the Sept. 18 dispute and repeatedly assaulting him after he appeared to make threats of violence against her. His violent response to the situation divided the nation, with some critics condemning Lane for initiating the violence, while others have blasted Hughes for being unprofessional.
Hughes was suspended prior to his termination and at a recent press conference he admitted that he is "disappointed" with the RTA's decision.
"I feel let down," Hughes said at a press conference. "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."
Lane, who claims that the dispute began over her search for bus fare, is accused of spitting on Hughes and grabbing his neck.
"It's amazing to see how a man would hit a woman that hard. Are you serious? You could have pulled me off the bus. You can't really touch anyone, but for real? You really punched me?" Lane told My Fox 8 News.
Both individuals have been charged over the incident, with prosecutors charging Hughes with assault and Lane with disorderly conduct.
To see the incident between Hughes and Lane, click here. (WARNING: Graphic language and violence.)