City in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter HSR driver ac­cused of grab­bing pas­sen­ger by hair

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

The city is in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter an HSR driver was cap­tured in a photo al­legedly grab­bing a pas­sen­ger by the hair Tues­day.

Of­fi­cials are speak­ing to wit­nesses to en­sure they have all the facts be­fore com­ment­ing fur­ther, city spokesper­son Jas­mine Gra­ham said Wed­nes­day.

“We are aware of the in­ci­dent that took place yes­ter­day be­tween an HSR op­er­a­tor and one of our cus­tomers and are cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.”

Mean­while, the union that rep­re­sents HRS driv­ers al­leges the Route 23 Up­per Gage op­er­a­tor her­self was as­saulted dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

“So­cial me­dia, un­for­tu­nately, doesn’t tell both sides of the story,” said Eric Tuck, pres­i­dent of Amal­ga­mated Tran­sit Union Lo­cal 107.

But Tuck added he could say lit­tle amid the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The photo posted on Face­book and taken by fel­low pas­sen­ger Sierra John­son Tues­day shows a fe­male bus driver hold­ing an­other woman by the hair.

John­son told The Spec­ta­tor the in­ci­dent be­gan on the Route 23 Up­per Gage bus af­ter a girl in front of her didn’t have photo ID to show with her stu­dent bus pass.

John­son, 19, who was with her one-year-old son, said she didn’t have photo ID with her pass, ei­ther. Af­ter a dis­agree­ment, the driver told her to put 30 cents in the fare box. She then be­gan to yell at her to “sit the (ex­ple­tive) down.” John­son al­leges.

John­son said she was of­fended and called HSR to com­plain, when the driver yelled at her to get off the phone. In the heat of the mo­ment, the driver missed a stop, John­son said. Then the driver stopped, got off the bus and talked on her phone.

The girl who’d been in front of her got off the bus to com­plain she was go­ing to be late for work, John­son said.

That’s when the driver grabbed the girl by the hair and held her, John­son al­leges, adding she was re­peat­edly say­ing, “Let go of me, please.”

Reg­u­lar Route 23 rider Marissa McCon­nell said she wit­nessed the episode. “I don’t think any part of that was right. I work at two jobs with the pub­lic and you would never lay your hands on some­one.”

A su­per­vi­sor even­tu­ally ar­rived and told those pas­sen­gers left on the bus an­other one was on its way.

Tuck said po­lice were called be­cause the driver was al­legedly as­saulted dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Po­lice spokesper­son Const. Claus Wag­ner said po­lice weren’t called to the scene but he couldn’t con­firm whether the driver re­ported the in­ci­dent af­ter the fact.

FACE­BOOK PHOTO

The city is in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports an HSR driver grabbed a rider by the hair.

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