RTA riders speak out about smackdown! - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

RTA riders support driver involved in viral smackdown

"Give that man his job back!!!"  That's what one woman yelled at an RTA stop near Tower City in Downtown Cleveland.

RTA police say that the video that's now become a youtube sensation shows Artis Hughes, 59, being harassed, spit on and then hit.  In the video Hughes loses it.  He stops the bus and proceeds to do a number on 25-year-old Shidea Lane. 

RTA says what Hughes did was unacceptable and suspended him without pay. 

"I thought it was terrible they could drive a man that far, and she got everything her mouth was asking for - she got sent straight to the ground!  They should give that guy an award!" says another regular RTA rider.

The incident happened in Beachwood, but those that ride RTA everywhere say what the drivers on all of the buses put up with - no one should have to go through.

"Those people have a job to do and every day they get stuff thrown at them, are disrespected. They have to put up with a lot of stuff driving these buses. It's not fair that to that bus driver."

Lane, the woman in the video, didn't press any charges the day of the incident.  Initially, Hughes told police he wanted to press charges against Lane, but later decided he wouldn't .  

What was all the commotion about in the first place?   Hughes told police Lane refused to pay her fare.  

As a result of the incident Hughes RTA suspended indefinitely.

Anonymous riders meantime, have set up a Facebook page in Artis Hughes' honor.  Organizers do not think he should be fired.  CLICK HERE for more.

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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