In late September, a video started making the rounds on social media showing an altercation between a white Denver Public Schools bus driver and an African-American parent on September 18. Police had initially arrested Brandi Martin, the parent involved in the altercation, under suspicion of third-degree assault after she entered the bus without the driver's permission and tried to remove her child.
Parents, DPS officials and police have all communicated slightly different versions of the escalating tensions that led up to the physical altercation. But last week Denver District Attorney Beth McCann declined to charge anyone in the incident, arguing that both sides were somewhat to blame.
Readers have no problem placing blame, though. Says Lynette:
Really? First it was because of false accusations of inappropriate touching, and now it's a race issue. It was and is about kids who think they can act any kind of way with zero consequences.
When a woman is reaching for her child and a gentleman is trying to obstruct her from reaching her child, it is an issue.
Really?! It had nothing to do with race! It's a matter of students not respecting the adults.
I’m just here to watch “adults” arguing on social media. Carry on!
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DPS spokesperson Will Jones says the driver was following the district's policy that ensures that children are only released to their parents. Qaedah Perron, who was among the parents in the crowd, says that the driver was not communicating why he was holding their children, who in the video can be heard crying and screaming. Eventually, parent Brandi Martin tried to climb on the bus via the emergency exit.
"As the video footage clearly shows, Ms. Martin was simply trying to help her child get off the bus when she was confronted by the DPS employees on the school bus," her lawyer, Chad Oxman, wrote in a statement. In the video, it appears that she punches the driver in the face several times, but also that he pushes her forcefully onto the seat and repeatedly pulls her by her hair, head and waist.
“The DPS employees were in a difficult situation and believed they were handling matters as best they could,” McCann wrote in her statement. “Ms. Martin was concerned about her child and took action that she believed was appropriate. Criminal charges are not warranted, although I hope that the parties are able to move forward and recognize the respective positions of those involved."
What do you think of the incident? Let us know in a comment or at firstname.lastname@example.org.