The Cleveland bus driver who delivered an uppercut punch to a female passenger is defending himself by saying that she actually tried to hit him first, according to a police report. The driver who got into a heated argument has now been identified as 59-year-old Artis Hughes and the woman is identified as 25-year-old Shi'dea N. Lane.
Hughes, who has worked for 22 years with the Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland, is being suspended pending an investigation of the altercation, a RTA spokesman told The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
RTA officials believe the incident happened on Sept. 18.
A police report obtained by the Plain Dealer, the fight started when Lane boarded the bus claiming that she couldn't pay the bus fare because she forgot her backpack. She then asked Hughes, "Are you putting me off the bus?" and "Is this how you treat people in Cleveland?" Lane then paid her fare but she called the driver the B-word.
That's when the argument escalated.
Hughes told the officer that Lane allegedly kept cursing at him and then proceeded to grab his throat, spit in his face and strike him with her fist, according to the police report. Then Hughes allegedly reached for his cellphone but Lane knocked it out of his hands. Hughes "pushed her back," according to the report, until the police could arrive.
Lane spoke to Fox News later saying she felt that she was on "Mortal Kombat."
The video of the encounter was first posted online WorldStarHipHop.com on Friday and has since gone viral, racking up at least a few million views throughout YouTube.
In the video, the bus driver and woman are seen fighting. Lane is then seen touching the bus driver, who then stands up and tells Lane, "You're going to jail now."
Without warning, Hughes delivers a big uppercut punch to Lane, who falls backward. Other passengers tell Hughes that he just struck a female. The driver then tells Lane: "Wanna be a man? I'm going to treat you like a man."
Lane tries to get back on the bus but Hughes attempts to stop her. Lane then repeats Hughes' line back to him saying, "You're going to jail now."