VIA releases footage of violent fight on board bus

Man denies pulling knife, despite video evidence

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - VIA Metropolitan Transit has released footage of a violent altercation last month between a man and a woman captured on one of its buses as it drove on the city's Northwest Side.

San Antonio Police were called to the 12000 block of Network Boulevard March 14 for a reported cutting, after a VIA driver reported two people fighting on a moving bus.

Video obtained by KSAT 12 through an open records request shows a man and woman standing up and began yelling at each other before exchanging punches, then falling on top of each other when the bus suddenly stops.

The fight, which lasted approximately one minute, ended after the VIA driver ordered both people off the bus, then closed its doors.

"She was talking crazy to people, you know, yelling out stuff," said Bernard, the man seen in the video fighting.

He asked that we not use his last name.

Bernard said he threw punches in self-defense and only learned after the fight that he was striking a woman.

READ MORE: VIA bus driver attacked by passenger

"I didn't know she was a woman, because she looked like a man to me," said Bernard, who broke his hand during the brawl.

A police report obtained by KSAT 12 refers to the incident as a "cutting," and Bernard is seen on the video pulling something from his back pocket, then saying, "I'll cut your mother (expletive) throat."

However, the video shows the item falling onto the floor of the bus seconds after it was pulled from Bernard's pocket, and it did not appear to be used by either person during the fight.

The SAPD report indicates the woman left the scene before she could be questioned, or identified.

Bernard was detained for several hours, but released without being charged, and is listed in the report as the victim.

He denied pulling out a weapon during the fight, despite what was captured on camera.

SAPD's report indicates a cutting instrument was recovered at the scene.

Tremell Brown, VIA's vice president of safety, training and system security sent the following statement Monday:

VIA Metropolitan Transit remains committed to the safety of the traveling public and the agency's patrons and employees. That includes our priority to maintain a safe environment for passengers and operators when aboard VIA vehicles.
VIA provides 40 million passenger trips per year, and the overwhelming majority happen without incident. Should an incident occur, such as the one on March 14, 2017, VIA bus operators act quickly to secure the vehicle and keep others from harm.
Video footage from aboard the bus on March 14, shows that the operator stopped the bus, calmly and repeatedly asked two individuals who were involved in a scuffle to exit the bus in order to remove the threat of danger from other passengers. He immediately summoned aid, and while authorities were en route to the area, he maintained a safe environment aboard the bus.
The individual who is believed to have been injured during the altercation left the area. The second individual was not allowed back on the vehicle while assistance was being dispatched to the location in order to maintain a safe environment for the passengers and operator.
The operator handled the situation well and followed procedures in place to keep our customers and drivers safe.

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