Senator Condemns ‘Saddening’ RTA Attacks

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Senator Tom Patton (Photo Credit: OhioSenate.Gov)

CLEVELAND  — State Senator Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) is speaking out against what he calls a recent “wave of attacks” on Regional Transit Authority workers, specifically in Cleveland.

“The unprovoked attacks by certain people on our transportation professionals should not be tolerated by our community and are not tolerated by law. This violence in our city is saddening. All workers deserve to feel safe on the job, especially when much of their work revolves around the safety of others,” Patton said in a statement released Friday.

Patton is likely referring to a September incident involving bus operator Artis Hughes, 59, and passenger Shidea Lane, 25.  Lane is seen on what has become a viral video grabbing and spitting at Hughes before he gets up from his seat and punches her.

Both were charged in the incident

The RTA is also investigating a hot coffee attack on two bus operators earlier this month. Police say a passenger tossed the scalding liquid at the drivers, causing serious burns to one of them.

Officials have not yet made an arrest in that case.

Patton says he’s ready to put legislation in place to protect RTA’s workers.

“I intend to address this recurring issue in the near future with legislation from the Statehouse to offer additional deterrents to would-be criminals so that we can keep these public transportation servants safe.”

In response to Senator Patton’s statement, a spokesperson for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority on Friday said the following:

“SB 384 is in committee right now. RTA has been in support of this legislation since it was first introduced.”
The proposed bill calls for harsher punishment for those who commit assaults against Ohio transit system workers, increasing the penalty to a fifth-degree felony.