Man sentenced for attacking Metro Transit driver

A Minneapolis man will be sentenced Tuesday for attacking a Metro Transit bus driver last year. The entire incident was caught on camera. 

Twenty-six-year-old Sterling Smith was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation for beating up a Metro transit bus driver last spring. The assault was sparked by a call from his girlfriend who incorrectly accused the driver of using racial slurs.

The attack left the driver with cuts, bruises and blurred vision.

According to the criminal complaint, the bus driver called police after a woman who was swearing became uncooperative. In turn, that woman called her boyfriend, Smith, who met her at the bus and began punching the driver. 

But, entire exchange was recorded by a security camera inside the bus, confirming the driver never said anything in appropriate. 

Smith was charged with two counts, including third degree assault. In August, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of interference with a transit operator. 

This case was just one of several attacks on Metro Transit employees that led to calls for safety improvements. 

Soon, bus drivers in the Twin Cities will have some extra protection. The Metropolitan Council recently approved $1.2 million in funding to install shields in approximately 600 buses—roughly two thirds of Metro Transit’s fleet. 

Smith will serve 30 days in the workhouse and serve the rest of his sentence on electronic home monitoring. He will also be ordered to continue anger management and pay more than $19,000 in restitution.