Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY STE­FANO ES­POS­ITO, STAFF RE­PORTER ses­pos­ito@sun­ | @sle­spos­ito

Lawrence Mad­den Jr. has de­scribed the lin­ger­ing pain and an­guish of be­ing kicked and punched by one CTA bus driver and body-slammed by another in June.

But it ap­pears the West Side man may have thrown the first punch in the June 11 in­ci­dent, which was caught on video and sub­se­quently went vi­ral. CTA sur­veil­lance video, ob­tained through a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest, ap­pears to show Mad­den strik­ing the first blow.

“Yes, that’s what hap­pened. I de­fended my­self,” Leonard An­drews Jr. said in a brief con­ver­sa­tion with a Sun-Times re­porter Tues­day. The CTA fired An­drews and Mi­lan Wil­liams, the man seen on the video bodys­lam­ming Mad­den.

An­drews, 28, was charged with mis­de­meanor bat­tery. Wil­liams, 46, was charged with felony ag­gra­vated bat­tery. Wil­liams, who could not be reached for com­ment, told Fox News Chicago he was com­ing to the aid of a col­league.

An­drews said Tues­day he feels he was un­justly fired.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened in the early morn­ing hours of June 11 at the in­ter­sec­tion of 77th Street and West­ern Av­enue. Dur­ing a news con­fer­ence with his lawyers last month, Mad­den, who lives on the West Side, said he was tak­ing a bus to see his fa­ther when the driver stopped the ve­hi­cle to talk to another CTA driver. As the con­ver­sa­tion dragged on, Mad­den said he told the bus driver he was in a hurry to get to his des­ti­na­tion. Mad­den said the bus driver threat­ened him, and so Mad­den ex­ited the bus.

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

In the short vi­ral video, Mad­den can be seen in between two CTA em­ploy­ees be­fore be­ing body-slammed by one of them.

The longer CTA sur­veil­lance video shows Mad­den get­ting off the bus, drop­ping his be­long­ings, walk­ing up to An­drews and throw­ing what ap­pears to be the first punch. The driver is then seen kick­ing and punch­ing Mad­den. To­ward the end of the video, another CTA em­ployee ap­proaches and body-slams Mad­den. Then, as the bus pulls away and Mad­den is left ly­ing on the ground, a wit­ness gets out of his car and ap­pears to strike Mad­den.

Mad­den could not be reached for com­ment Tues­day. Tamara Walker, one of his at­tor­neys, said re­gard­less of whether her client threw a punch, the two CTA bus driv­ers should not have be­haved the way they did.

“The video speaks for it­self, but ob­vi­ously both the CTA and the Cook County state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice agree with our po­si­tion that the men’s ac­tions were in­ap­pro­pri­ate, they were vig­i­lante, they were ex­ces­sive and, quite frankly, they were dan­ger­ous,” Walker said.

The bus driver “es­ca­lated the sit­u­a­tion” by get­ting off the bus when Mad­den ex­ited, Walker said.

Walker, who had not seen the CTA video un­til the Sun-Times pro­vided it to her, said her client never men­tioned throw­ing a punch June 11 — some­thing that doesn’t sur­prise her, she said.

“So if Mr. Mad­den doesn’t re­mem­ber some of the phys­i­cal con­tact, or even the ex­act lo­ca­tion of the in­ci­dent, that’s not sur­pris­ing given the fact he suf­fered a trau­matic head in­jury as a re­sult of be­ing slammed to the ground,” Walker said.

She said she sub­poe­naed the CTA videos but had not yet re­ceived them.

Walker said she is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case.

Keith Hill, pres­i­dent of Lo­cal 241 Amal­ga­mated Tran­sit Union, said in judg­ing the two CTA em­ploy­ees’ ac­tions, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the dif­fi­cul­ties oper­a­tors face work­ing at night, when po­lice are less vis­i­ble than in the day­time.

“We’re con­stantly be­ing at­tacked, we’re con­stantly be­ing ha­rassed. We [are] all we got,” Hill said.

These images from CTA sur­veil­lance video show bus pas­sen­ger Lawrence Mad­den Jr. ap­proach CTA em­ployee Leonard An­drews Jr. and throw a punch. In the video, An­drews is then seen kick­ing and punch­ing Mad­den be­fore another CTA worker ap­proaches and body-slams Mad­den. CTA SUR­VEIL­LANCE VIDEO SCREEN GRABS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.