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San Francisco bus driver beaten up with baseball bat and spat on for asking 3 passengers to wear face masks

The driver suffered a fractured finger while the suspects fled the scene on foot
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISO, CALIFORNIA: A bus driver in San Franciso has allegedly been beaten after he asked three passengers to wear face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. The incident reportedly happened last Wednesday, July 22. In a statement on Friday, July 24, San Francisco Police Department Officer Robert Rueca said three men boarded the bus operated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency or Muni without covering their face.

The driver whose identity has not been revealed advised the men several times to wear a mask, as according to San Francisco's public health order, all people in the city are required to wear a face cover while out in public or taking public transportation. However, the men refused to comply with the order, so the driver stopped the bus to escort them off.

“As the victim was escorting the males off the bus one of the males pulled out a wooden bat and struck the victim several times, which caused the victim to be injured. The suspects fled the scene on foot in an unknown direction,” Rueca said. Muni employees and a representative with Transport Workers Union Local 250A told KTVU the driver was spat on after being verbally assaulted and was struck with a miniature souvenier baseball bat.

Police were called to 11th and Division streets on Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. regarding an assault. It has been reported that the three suspected also spat on the victim and verbally assaulted him before escaping the scene. Muni employees and a representative with Transport Workers Union Local 250A said that the driver suffered a fractured finger after the attack and was recovering at home.

In another incident, a French bus driver was declared brain dead after being attacked by a group of people whom he refused to let inside the vehicle for not wearing masks. The alleged attackers were not wearing masks and did not have tickets as they tried to board a bus in Bayonne on July 5. However, when the driver attempted to stop the suspects boarding the bus, they repeatedly punched him, leading to serious head injury.

On July 6, police caught one suspect while others remain at large, a police source in Bayonne said. The source added that when the victim arrived at the hospital on July 6, doctors declared him brain dead. A number of bus drivers refused to work after the brutal attack, disrupting regional bus services. Local media reports stated that the bus company joined the drivers in their protest and called the strike "completely legitimate". Several drivers also went to the hospital to show their solidarity and support for the victim, who is in a critical condition.

A Sud Ouest report stated that many of the bus drivers were shocked but not surprised by the disturbing attack after a series of assaults that took place in recent days. They said that because of the lack of security on public transport, there had been "daily tensions" with passengers of late. Face masks have been made compulsory on public transport in France as the country gradually eased its Covid-19 lockdown in May and June. According to Johns Hopkins University, France has more than 200,000 positive cases with over 30,000 deaths.