CLEVELAND - Should the bus driver be fired?
It's the question witnesses of the violent Sept. 18 bus fight are now weighing-in on after Rapid Transit Authority officials recently suspended the driver, 59-year-old Artis Hughes.
Listening to the YouTube clips of the fight, you hear the undercut punch Hughes delivers to passenger, 25-year-old Shi-Dea Lane.
He was remembering that moment when a witness to it all, Bill Matthews, said, "I've seen fights on the streets, been in fights, but I've never seen or witnessed an uppercut other than on TV so you know ..."
The shock he conveyed as he spoke with us seemed to be the same expression he had back on Sept. 18, when RTA Police first reported the incident.
Going back to that day, Matthews said 25-year-old Lane instigated the fight and struck Hughes first adding, he agrees with the RTA police report, which labels the bus driver as the victim.
"…he was defending himself," said Matthews, "he did what he had to do, but I don't think he should get fired. I think suspension is good enough."
Quite the opposite, another witness now believes the driver should be let go.
"At first I didn't but now I do," explained Darriel McClain. McClain told NewsChannel5 she used to work Lane and even tried to calm her down when Lane and Hughes first began arguing. She believes the bus driver is just as responsible.
Referring to Lane, McClain said, "She didn't' really get aggressive until -- it was the fact that he was arguing back with her and yelling, acting as inappropriately as he did like he wasn't working."
McClain went on to describe at least 10 minutes passing during the back-and-forth between Hughes and Lane, time McClain said could've been used to call police.
To both sides she said, "Most people should know better. Like just because you're a guy doesn't mean you're not supposed to fight a female. [If] you got a female in your face screaming at you, hitting you, and that girl thinks you not supposed to hit back: No. That's wrong. But he's wrong too because, you know, that was his job to call police and get her off of that bus but he didn't."
None of the two involved were charged since the Sept. 18 incident. The driver, due to the viral video, was only recently suspended. The RTA confirmed Hughes was suspended without pay. In a statement the RTA apologized to passengers and said they are investigating the matter.