Minneapolis man charged in bus driver assault


A Minneapolis man was charged with third-degree assault in the beating of a Metro Transit bus driver, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Sterling Smith, 26, also was charged with transit-interfering with the operation of a vehicle. He is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday.

According to the criminal complaint, a Metro Transit bus driver was at the stop at Emerson and 15th  Avenues North in Minneapolis on April 10 when three women boarded the bus. One of the women was standing near the driver and swearing, so he asked her to stop using that language. She became more uncooperative, so the driver called the dispatcher and asked for police to come and remove her.

Another woman, identified as B.M., approached the driver from elsewhere on the bus to ask why the bus wasn’t moving. At that point, the first woman was saying that the driver had made racial comments. While up at the front of the bus, B.M. was on her phone with her boyfriend, Smith, and she told him she was on the 5F and where they were stopped, the complaint states.

A short time later, Smith arrived at the bus and escorted his girlfriend off. Smith then boarded the bus again and began striking the driver about the head. The driver was able to activate his alarm and Smith fled, according to the complaint.

When police arrived, they found the driver with blood on his nose and upper lip, a cut to his right eye lid and scrapes to his forehead. The driver also said he was suffering from double vision, a condition that continued for at least two more days, the complaint states.

Police found Smith and Smith told them he thought he heard the driver use a racial slur. However, police investigators said the entire incident was recorded and no such statement is heard, according to the complaint.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)