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Greater Cleveland RTA Releases Video Of Transit Policeman Taking Minor Off Bus

Screen still from RTA surveillance video shows officer taking minor off bus.
Screen still from RTA surveillance video shows officer taking minor off bus.

By ideastream's Brian Bull

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority today released surveillance footage of a black 14-year-old being escorted off a bus by an RTA policeman Sunday.  

Surveillance video from inside the bus shows the transit policeman leaning over the young man who looks unresponsive and disoriented in his seat.  The officer asks if the boy is drunk then looks into the youth’s bag and removes a tall glass bottle with a yellowish substance.

“What is this?  What’s inside of here?" asks the officer.  The youth stares back at him.

"Well, I just found it in your bag," resumes the officer.  The minor mutters something.

"Huh?  You’re getting off with me, let’s go.”

The minor is led off the bus and into a bus shelter at Euclid and East 24 th, just as the “Movement for Black Lives” conference is winding down on the Cleveland State campus.  According to a statement issued by RTA, “The crowd then surrounded the car and attempted to remove the juvenile from the car.”  

Video of a transit officer then using a burst of pepper spray on the crowd went viral over the weekend.

The boy was eventually picked up by his mother, after being checked by EMS.

Waltrina Middleton is one of the organizers for the “Movement for Black Lives” event.  She says the crowd’s actions reflect a far-reaching concern over the well-being of young African-Americans at a time when police actions seem too militarized:

“Whenever I see an officer interacting with a young person of color, my sensibilities heighten," says Middleton. "And I want to ensure that that person’s rights are being honored and protected, as would for anyone else.” 

There were no charges or injuries reported during the confrontation.  RTA says the incident is under investigation.