Union backs RTA bus driver in caught on tape beatdown - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Union backs RTA bus driver in caught on tape beatdown

The union for the bus drivers is defending the RTA driver at the heart of the viral video showing him punching an abuse passenger.

William Nix from the Amalgated Transit Union says he will fight to save that driver's job. Nix told 19 Action News that bus drivers are frequently assaulted and they can only take so much before they have to defend themselves.

"We're not saying a driver's supposed to just go and attack someone but if someone is violating their space and attacking what do you want them to do?" Nix said.

Nix is also calling for a new law that would include extra penalties for anyone who assaults a bus or train driver.

The head of the bus drivers union is defending a driver seen on cell phone video giving an uppercut punch to a female passenger. William Nix points out the woman had harassed the driver, spit on him, and more.

Council Public Safety Chariman Kevin Conwell had already been planning a hearing on the issue. He sees it as more than an issue for drivers.

"If someone distracts the driver, he may not put the bus in park and then the bus is out of control," says Conwell.

RTA has said neither the driver in the incident on video nor the passenger wanted to press charges. But the matter is under investigation.

The driver, Artis Hughes, is suspended pending an RTA hearing.

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved. 

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