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