MILWAUKEE -- The video is startling. Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) officials on Thursday, September 24th released surveillance video that shows a fight between a bus driver and a passerby we're told is transgender. The altercation resulted in the bus driver losing his job. Now, his union representatives are fighting to get him his job back.
We're told neither party will face criminal charges in connection with this altercation. However, both men are expected to be issued citations.
It happened on September 11th. As a group got on a Milwaukee County bus, a passerby hopped on to say hello to some friends.
Surveillance video shows the driver shut the door on a man witnesses say is transgender.
Both sides got upset -- yelling back and forth, with the driver shouting homophobic slurs.
Witnesses say the man spit at the driver, and the driver spit back.
"Both men were acting inappropriately, but only one of them works for Milwaukee County Transit," Brendan Conway, MCTS spokesman said.
Conway says the driver, a 30-year MCTS veteran, violated a number of policies. Perhaps the biggest offense occurred when the passenger appeared to back away and get off the bus -- and the driver made the decision to get out of his chair and protected area, and throw a garbage can at the man.
"He left the bus, which he`s never supposed to do. At that point, he left all those people on the bus in danger," Conway said.
Cell phone video given to FOX6 News by a passenger shows the two punching one another in the middle of the road at 12th and Wisconsin.
"They was both calling each other names. They was both spitting at each other -- but you gotta look at who was the aggressive one," James Macon, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 -- the MCTS bus drivers union said.
Macon says the union backs the bus driver, and they've filed a grievance with MCTS.
"He should get his job back," Macon said.
Conway says this bus driver reached his final stop after a string of bad choices.
"Most of our employees here do amazing jobs every day," Conway said. "In this case, the driver was not reflecting the values of MCTS and so he was let go because of that.
Conway says if passengers are unruly or combative, each driver has a direct link to headquarters -- and dispatchers can then send route supervisors or police to the scene.
We're told in this case, the driver did call after the incident was over -- and assistance arrived at the scene within three minutes.