MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 26-year-old man will spend 90 days in the workhouse and 3 years under supervised probation for attacking a Metro Transit bus driver in April 2018.
On Tuesday, Sterling Verloz Smith was sentenced on a felony charge of obstructing operation of a transit vehicle in connection to the April 10, 2018 incident. A 1-year prison sentence was stayed for 3 years.
A rider caught the entire unprovoked beating on the Route 5 bus in north Minneapolis on camera and posted it to social media.
Transit officials say shortly before the assault, three women boarded a bus at Emerson and 15th Avenue North and one started swearing. When the driver asked her to stop, one woman became combative, so authorities were called and the bus was stopped.
In the meantime, a woman who was already on the bus called her boyfriend, identified in the complaint as Smith, who came to the stopped bus to meet her.
After escorting her off the bus, Smith began attacking the driver.
The attack left the bus driver with blood on his nose and upper lip, an abrasion to his right eyelid, and several scrapes on his forehead, according to the complaint. The driver told police he was suffering from double-vision as a result of the assault, as well.
Smith told investigators the driver used a pointed racial slur. Investigators say no statement was heard on the audio. He then told investigators, “I took it the wrong way possibly.”
The attack has some bus operators calling for barriers to be put in place to protect drivers from attacks. Union leaders say the video is an example at the growing number of assaults operators face.
Smith will serve his workhouse duty at the Hennepin County Workhouse.