Publish date:

Charges: Man attacked bus driver over racial slur that never was

The attack was captured on video that went viral on social media.

The attack on a Minneapolis bus driver that went viral on social media was caused by a racial slur that never happened.

The attacker has been identified as Sterling Smith, 26, of Girard Avenue North in Minneapolis, who was charged on Wednesday with 3rd degree assault.

It comes after he allegedly kicked and punched the driver of a Metro Transit Route 5 bus on Apr. 10, with another passenger filming the incident and later sharing it on Facebook and Snapchat, where it was viewed more than 160,000 times.

According to the criminal complaint, the incident unfolded because a woman standing near the driver alleged the driver had made racial comments after he told her to stop swearing.


– Video shows attack on Metro Transit bus driver.

– Sign up for our daily newsletters.

The driver called the police to come and remove the woman from the bus as she was being uncooperative. Another woman, identified as Smith's girlfriend, was on the phone with Smith while this was going on.

She told Smith about the driver's alleged comments, what bus they were on and that the bus was stopped at Emerson and 15th Avenue North.

A short time later, Smith entered the bus and escorted his girlfriend off, returning after to attack the driver, fleeing after an alarm was activated.

Those alleged racial comments? They never happened, with police finding the entire incident was recorded by on-board cameras and "no such statement is heard."

When he was told this, Smith said: "I took it the wrong way possibly."

The driver suffered cuts to his right eye lid, scrapes to his forehead, a bloody nose and double vision that lasted more than two days.

The attack led to calls for greater protections for bus drivers, with WCCO reporting officials are planning on looking at ways to introduce more barriers between drivers and passengers, amid concerns driver attacks are on the rise.

Next Up

Lakeville South

May bomb threat at south metro school traced to Lakeville area kid

Months of investigation led to the digital footprint of the juvenile.

WIkimedia Commons - Frey April 20, 2021

Frey backs creation of Dept. of Public Safety, removal of police staffing minimums

He is in favor of removing police staffing minimums from the city charter – which this November's ballot question would also do.

Foreman tl - Flug-Presley tr - Sturm bl - Pettus br - Go Fund Me and Facebook

St. Paul PD takes over quadruple killing probe after it emerged they died in Minnesota

A "thorough investigation" reveled where the four Minnesotans were killed.

superior national forest

Highway 1 reopens as Greenwood Fire is 80% contained

The highway has been closed for about a month.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, September 20

Data in Monday reports includes the past Friday, not the weekend. Weekend data is released on Tuesdays.


Driver killed in ATV rollover crash north of Alexandria

The crash occurred in Douglas County Sunday evening.


Video shows attack on Minneapolis bus driver

The incident was captured on video that has since gone viral.

Video shows another attack on a Metro Transit driver

It happened in broad daylight on Nicollet Mall.

Metro Transit responds to viral video of bus incident

The video has been shared widely on social media.

Charges: Man smashed car windows, used racial slurs in Bloomington

The Burnsville man also smashed his father's car windows, and threatened the Somali man's life.

Bus driver was over the limit with 58 students on board

The 39 year old is facing four DWI charges.

bus driver seat Pixabay

Charges: Man stabs bus driver numerous times with pen, screwdriver

Officers had to pull the attacker off the 63-year-old driver when they arrived, charges say.

Charges: Man yelled racial slurs, wiped penis on Burger King window

The 40 year old also threatened to kill people inside the restaurant.