Chicago Sun-Times

CTA fires em­ploy­ees caught in vi­ral video of body-slam at­tack on bus pas­sen­ger

- BY STE­FANO ES­POS­ITO, STAFF RE­PORTER ses­pos­ito@sun­times.com | @sle­spos­ito Crime · Viral · Incidents · Chicago Police Department

Two CTA em­ploy­ees caught on a vi­ral video at­tack on a pas­sen­ger have been ter­mi­nated for “con­duct un­be­com­ing a CTA em­ployee,” among other things, the tran­sit agency said Tues­day.

The news came just a few hours af­ter that pas­sen­ger, Lawrence Mad­den Jr., told re­porters what he said tran­spired in June as he rode the bus to his el­derly father’s house.

It was about 2 a.m., when the bus stopped and the driver be­gan shoot­ing the breeze with an­other driver.

But as the con­ver­sa­tion dragged on, Mad­den said he told his driver he was in a hurry to get to his des­ti­na­tion.

“He lit­er­ally got up­set be­cause I was telling him that he was un­pro­fes­sional and I’m try­ing to get to the house,” Mad­den, 43, re­called Tues­day, talk­ing with re­porters at a West Side news con­fer­ence his lawyers had ar­ranged. “He said, ‘You’ll get to the house when I get you there.’ ’’

That was the end of the ride for Mad­den. He said the bus driver un­buck­led his seat belt and threat­ened him, so Mad­den bolted out the back door.

“As I’m get­ting off the bus, he hit me and he kicked me three times,” Mad­den said.

The other driver then ap­proached from be­hind, scooped Mad­den up and bodys­lammed him to the ground — an in­ci­dent cap­tured on video that has gone vi­ral. Mad­den’s lawyers said a passerby in a car recorded the video. (Mad­den says the in­ci­dent oc­curred at 77th and Western, though the CTA said it was at 79th.)

CTA of­fi­cials at first de­scribed the in­ci­dent as “deeply dis­turb­ing” and said the two em­ploy­ees had been put on leave.

Then, last week, the em­ploy­ees were fired af­ter “a thor­ough in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” ac­cord­ing to a CTA state­ment.

They had vi­o­lated sev­eral CTA rules, in­clud­ing “fight­ing while on duty, con­duct un­be­com­ing a CTA em­ployee and fail­ure to re­port the in­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to a CTA state­ment.

Mad­den’s lawyers say both em­ploy­ees should be charged with felony bat­tery.

“On June 11, 2020, Mr. Mad­den was going to his des­ti­na­tion. The driver had a duty to take him to that des­ti­na­tion in a safe man­ner. In­stead, he at­tacked Mr. Mad­den,” at­tor­ney Arielle Wil­liams said. “Mr. Mad­den was at­tacked twice by two bus driv­ers.”

Mad­den’s at­tor­neys also said that even though the “vi­cious” body-slam left their client ly­ing limp on the con­crete, ar­riv­ing Chicago po­lice of­fi­cers never asked whether he needed med­i­cal attention.

“In­stead of po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing, in­stead of the po­lice ren­der­ing aid to Mr. Mad­den ... they left the scene. Mr. Mad­den was forced to walk to his father’s house — sev­eral miles — in­jured,” Wil­liams said.

Mad­den, who lives on the West Side, said he’s now too afraid to ride a bus.

“I’m going through pain. I can’t sleep,” he said. “I’ve got headaches, de­pres­sion, para­noia, think­ing that some­one is com­ing af­ter me.”

Mad­den’s at­tor­neys say they plan to file a law­suit, but their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion was in the early stages Tues­day. They said they have sub­poe­naed the CTA for any video of the in­ci­dent.

CPD did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

 ?? ASH­LEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES ?? Lawrence Mad­den Jr., flanked by his two at­tor­neys, talks Tues­day about be­ing at­tacked by two CTA bus driv­ers on June 11.
ASH­LEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES Lawrence Mad­den Jr., flanked by his two at­tor­neys, talks Tues­day about be­ing at­tacked by two CTA bus driv­ers on June 11.

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