Police now have a suspect in custody after members of the community identified the man in the video.
“On May 3rd, 2019, Montebello Detectives received information from several citizens who recognized the suspect from the video. Detectives were able to contact witnesses who positively identified the suspect. In an attempt to locate the suspect, Detectives discovered the suspect was currently in custody and being housed at the Los Angeles County Jail for an arrest for domestic violence which occurred on April 3rd, 2019,” Montebello police said in a statement on the department’s Facebook page.
“The Montebello police department will present this bus assault case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration. The suspect has been identified as Vincent Eric Ramirez, 32 years of age. Ramirez is a Montebello resident.
“Thank you to the community for your help and efforts in solving this crime. Your support made the difference in this case.”
Police are asking for the help of the public in finding a man who brutally attacked another passenger as they both were exiting a Montebello bus March 12.
According to police and bus surveillance video, the suspect punched the victim in the back of the head as he got off the bus, knocking the victim unconscious. The attacker then kicked the man three times before walking away.
SMART Transportation Division represents bus operators and mechanics employed by Montebello Bus Lines in Local 1701 in Montebello, California.
The assailant could have easily turned and assaulted the bus operator as well, which is why SMART TD supports H.R. 1139 – the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act, which would protect bus operators from violent incidents like this one.
According to a story by The Spokesman-Review, bus operators employed by the Spokane Transit Authority (STA) in Spokane, Wash., have seen an increase of assaults by riders.
According to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1015, which represents the STA operators, there’s been seven incidents since December. Bus operators have reported multiple cases of verbal abuse, physical abuse, spitting and threats.
Click here to read more from The Spokesman-Review.
Over the past couple of years, SMART TD has been trying to help bus operators mitigate assaults by providing training at regional meetings on how to de-escalate conflicts. SMART TD has also been lobbying for stricter laws to protect all bus operators from assault.
Last month in Olympia, Wash., passengers on a city bus witnessed their driver being brutally beaten in an attack that was caught on video for the world to see. The footage is alarming and sickening. It was not, unfortunately, uncommon.
From sexual and physical assaults to verbal abuse, the nation’s bus drivers are facing an epidemic of hostility. In the New York area alone there are seven attacks per month on average that range from spitting to beatings to stabbings, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Other cities see the same level of hostility against drivers, meaning it is time to address this problem at the national level.
Last fall, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, called on the Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration to hold a summit on bus driver assaults. Today, with the blood-soaked face of the Olympia bus driver fresh in our minds, we renew that call.
We must evaluate new measures, and new technologies, being used successfully in parts of our country and abroad to protect drivers and their passengers, who often get dragged into the fray. The installation of Plexiglas partitions to separate drivers from passengers or other changes to a driver’s seating area, are options to consider. Another is the presence of uniformed police officers on buses, and tougher penalties for those who do attack drivers. Other steps include video surveillance and better training for drivers. In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has started offering rewards of up to $2,000 for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of those assaulting drivers.
The solutions to curb violence against bus drivers are out there – we have simply lacked the will to implement them. This must change, and we can start by holding a national summit with transit unions, public transportation leaders, local law enforcement and the appropriate federal government agencies.
Let’s not wait until statistics on physical attacks become numbers of fatalities. The men and women who help keep America moving deserve better. They deserve the safest working environment this country can offer.
I was asked if our Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, the UTU PAC and our recently inaugurated direct-contact-with-members outreach can stop the assault on labor by conservative extremists.
In union there is strength, and when members of all labor unions engage in political solidarity, the result is millions of union members and their families working toward a common goal of electing more labor-friendly lawmakers.
Consider what has been accomplished recently in Ohio and Wisconsin.
Demonstrations in Ohio resulted in hundreds of thousands of voters — union and non-union — signing petitions to force a November ballot referendum on legislation signed into law by the governor revoking public-employee collective bargaining rights. The referendum will allow voters to determine in November whether the law should be invalidated.
In Wisconsin, demonstrations resulted in drives to recall anti-labor senators who voted to revoke public-employee collective bargaining rights in that state. This summer, a special election will give Wisconsin voters opportunity to change the make-up of the Senate.
UTU members and retirees in Ohio and Wisconsin have been receiving direct mail pieces and/or a recorded phone message from me and their state legislative director informing them of what they can do to make a difference in their state. Other AFL-CIO unions are engaged in similar efforts.
Our objective is to keep our members and their families fully informed on political issues so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box. We also are engaged in voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives.
Ohio members are being informed where they can sign petitions to put that state’s union-busting legislation to a direct-democracy test at the ballot box.
Wisconsin members and retirees are being advised which senators voted with labor and which senators voted to revoke collective-bargaining rights, so that when the special election is held this summer, they can make informed voting choices.
Similar efforts will be expanded to other states in advance of the 2012 congressional and White House elections.
Coordinating the UTU effort is our political consultant, Dean Mitchell, who has more than 20 years experience directing political campaigns on behalf of labor-friendly candidates. Dean’s father was president of an American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees local.
Polling data validates that labor families vote at a higher percentage than the public as a whole, meaning our votes can make a difference when we work in solidarity on behalf of labor friendly measures and candidates.
Keeping our members and their families informed on political issues — through direct mail, recorded phone messages, the UTU News and the UTU website — will continue.
We have drawn a line in the sand from which we cannot retreat. We can and will make a difference. We will not go away. We will not forget.
By Calvin Studivant Alternate Vice President, Bus Department
There is no question that more must be done to protect bus operators.
When operating a motor coach — whether carrying students, commuters, tourists or the handicapped – whenever we open the door, we are exposed to assaults.
Just in recent weeks, a driver in Utah was injured by a passenger who attacked him and caused the bus to crash. In Chicago, a driver was hospitalized in serious condition after being struck by a customer in a fare dispute. Almost daily, school bus operators must deal with abusive and unruly students.
Some employers are installing Plexiglas safety shields to protect drivers, and video cameras are being installed in buses and in bus terminals to record unruly behavior and threats.
In New Jersey, the state legislature passed a bill imposing severe punishment for anyone assaulting a bus operator or rail employee, and the law is proving to be effective. Coach USA has taken a further step and posted notices in its buses in New Jersey warning of the severe penalties for assaulting bus operators.
Our UTU National Legislative Office and many state legislative directors are working with lawmakers, many of whom are eager to craft legislation imposing penalties on those who assault drivers, and to require driver training in how to deal with unruly and abusive riders.
Within the UTU, from the local level to the International, we have qualified officers and staff working each day to help improve workplace safety.
Each of our bus locals should be working with state legislative directors to provide examples of the problem and suggestions for solutions, which should be communicated to lawmakers.