A StarTran bus driver lost his job after video surveillance shows him punching a male adult passenger who was riding the bus last month.
That driver, 43-year-old Troy S. Fischer, was cited for misdemeanor assault by Lincoln police after the incident took place late afternoon, Saturday March 23rd.
Fischer was suspended without pay after the incident and then fired following a personnel hearing with the city. Fischer had been a StarTran bus driver for four years.
Video released Friday, shows Fischer striking 40-year-old Torrance Rose in the face repeatedly, then dragging him off bus and throwing him in the street.
Fischer told 1011 News on the phone Thursday night that he "regrets" what he did and is sorry for it and wishes he could take it back.
Fischer, a vet who served in the U.S. Marines for 8 years in the 1990s, said he suffers from anxiety and depression, and is dealing with some personal problems.
He also said that during the incident, he felt the man was under the influence, or was high on drugs. Fischer said he felt threatened and even pressed an emergency button on the bus seeking help. But he still admits he was not acting in self-defense and should not have struck the man.
Police said the passenger did not look confrontational or belligerent. Police said the passenger, new to Lincoln from Colorado, was asking Fischer several questions about the city.
Lincoln Public Works Director Miki Esposito told 1011 News, "We take this incredibly seriously. This behavior is unacceptable."
A spokeswoman for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1293 in Lincoln, Marilyn Kruger, told 1011 News she has seen the video and that, "It does not accurately reflect who this man (Fischer) is." She does not think it should be released, calling it "inflammatory."
She also said, "He's a good and decent man," and should not lose his job.
Fischer has a court date later this month. He's facing a misdemeanor assault charge.