A man tried to board a bus in Bend, Oregon, without shoes when the driver stopped him, the Bend Bulletin reported.
“Gotta have shoes, bro,” driver Michael Brinster told him, according to the Bulletin.
The incident quickly escalated and Brinster put Dorian Allstot in a chokehold until Allstot lost consciousness. When police arrived, they arrested Allstot but not Brinster, a news release from the Deschutes County district attorney’s office said.
After Brinster initially told Allstot he had to wear shoes to board, Allstot put on socks and boarded again, the Bulletin reported. Allstot took a seat, but Brinster approached him, “screaming at him to ‘get off my [expletive] bus’ and yelling at him that he was going to ‘drop him,’” because Allstot allegedly “gestured to” the knife in his pocket, according to John Hummel, Deschutes County district attorney.
Cascades East Transit, which is operated by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, “does not have a policy that you must wear shoes, it is actually against ADA requirements to do so,” Tammy Baney, the council’s executive director, told KTVZ.
“At this point the driver violently yanked him into a chokehold, and held this hold as he dragged him off the bus, causing him to briefly lose consciousness,” Hummel said in a statement.
After regaining consciousness, the driver said Allstot pulled his knife out and spat on his face, according to the release. Police arrived and arrested Allstot, but not Brinster, the district attorney said.
Brinster was later charged with assault and strangulation on Aug. 27 after investigators reviewed videos of the incident, according to the release. Allstot was charged with harassment and menacing, the district attorney said.
“The actions of this bus driver were shocking and criminal. He approached a passenger in an aggressive, disrespectful and violent manner: all because the passenger was wearing socks but no shoes,” Hummel said. “The fact this happened on a transit bus that regularly serves many of our most vulnerable residents is disheartening.”
Hummel said in a news conference that the crime does not appear to be racially motivated, KTVZ reported. However, a protest group is demanding the police department explain why the officers who responded did not immediately arrest Brinster for his actions, according to a Facebook post from the group.
“It’s a refreshing and positive sign that the driver is being charged for his attack, but there’s still a great deal of work to do,” the Central Oregon Peacekeepers said. “The Bend Police Department needs to answer for why Sergeant Cindy Ksenzulak and Officer Leah Boileau chose to arrest the victim in this scenario rather than the perpetrator.”
Paratransit Services, of Bremerton, Washington, fired Brinster on Aug. 27, according to the Bulletin.
“The conduct of the driver does not meet the professionalism or customer service expectations of COIC/CET,” the agency said in a statement, according to KTVZ.