A Milwaukee County bus driver who witnessed a police officer shoot a disruptive passenger in March is speaking out for the first time.
The incident happened on North 60th Street after the bus driver flagged down a Brown Deer Police officer asking for help.
"A man got on my bus and was mad he couldn't get a transfer," said the bus driver, who asked to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation. "He got really irate, and started calling me names. I started getting scared because he was a big guy, and I didn't know what he would do."
She says the female officer who stopped to help her was attacked by the unruly passenger.
"She asked him to get off the bus. He got off, but then started throwing her around and beating her up. She had to shoot him," the driver said. "Ever since, I've been having nightmares. I can't sleep and am afraid to drive. All I can see is that young man's face. He was screaming that he had been shot. Blood was everywhere."
The driver says a doctor diagnosed her with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She also claims she's not getting the workman's compensation she's entitled to.
James Macon, the president of the local bus drivers union, says she's not alone. Many drivers don't feel they get the support they need after traumatic situations on the job.
"Take care of the drivers, and take care of the public," Macon says. "When you put the drivers in danger, or don't get them the help they need, you're really putting the public in danger."
The Milwaukee County Transit System does not directly handle workers compensation. MCTS spokesman Brendan Conway says workman's comp is regulated by the state, and is done through a third-party company.
"In this case, we have proof the driver is on workers compensation," Conway says. "We have approval from her doctor. She is not expected to be back at work until she's ready. We want all of our drivers to be happy, healthy, and able to be at work. If a few aren't for whatever reason, that's okay by us. We want to have a safe workforce. I feel like this is another attempt by the union to try and get publicity with non-factual claims."
Both the union and the bus driver say there needs to be more security guards on buses.
According to MCTS, there are ample security measures in place, and this was an isolated and rare situation.
The passenger who was shot survived his injuries.