A Minneapolis man was charged in the beating of a Metro Transit bus driver last week, leaving the driver bloodied and temporarily vision-impaired, authorities say.
Sterling Smith, 26, faces one count of third-degree assault for his alleged involvement in the attack, which took place April 10 at a bus stop at Emerson and 15th avenues north in Minneapolis, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
The incident began after three women boarded the bus at the stop and one of them reportedly began swearing, authorities say.
The bus driver called police to have the woman removed when she refused to stop using offensive language and became increasingly uncooperative, the county attorney’s office reported.
As the bus waited for officers to arrive, another woman on the bus approached the driver to ask why the vehicle wasn’t moving, at which point the first woman told the second that the driver had made racial comments, authorities say.
The woman who’d approached the driver was reportedly on the phone with her boyfriend, Smith, at the time, and proceeded to tell him what bus she was on and where it was stopped. A short time later, Smith showed up on the bus and began striking the driver in the head, according to the county attorney’s office.
The driver was able to activate his alarm and Smith fled the scene. Police found the driver with blood on his nose and lip and a cut to his right eye lid, authorities say. He told officers he was also experiencing double vision.
A passenger on the bus recorded a cellphone video of the incident, which went viral after it was shared on Facebook.
In the video, a man wearing a blue T-shirt can be seen punching the driver several times before trying to knee him in the face.
When officers located Smith, he allegedly told them he thought he’d overheard the bus driver use a racial slur, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
Investigators said no such statement could be heard in the video recording of the incident, authorities say.
Smith will make his first appearance on the charges Thursday.
No attorney was listed for him in court records.