Valley Metro bus driver Todd Allen Shields facing assault charges (VIDEO)

PHOENIX, Ariz. - A Valley Metro bus driver is behind bars after allegedly assaulting a man trying to use a reduced fare card.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said the incident started around 11:45 a.m. Friday when a 21-year-old man tried to board the bus near 19th and Montebello Avenues.

The man gave bus driver Todd Allen Shields, 45, a fare card intended for passengers 18 years old or younger.

Shields told the man he appeared older than 18 at which time an argument ensued.

Thompson said Shields physically threw the man off the bus and assaulted him. Shields also broke the man's cell phone.

Desirae Madrid, a passenger on the bus, recorded the altercation on video which you can watch in the video player above.

Madrid told ABC15, "It makes me angry and sick to my stomach. He is the driver and deals with the public every day. He is supposed to be a professional."

Phoenix police were called to the scene and developed probable cause that Shields assaulted the man.

Shields was arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on assault, disorderly conduct, and criminal damage charges.

Thompson said the victim's injuries were minor.

Shields' employer, Veolia Transportation, issued the following statement Sunday:

On Friday, June 14, 2013 a Veolia Transportation employee who is a bus driver was involved in an altercation with a passenger aboard his bus.

This altercation was related to fare collection and resulted in the arrest of the bus driver. 

We are fully investigating this matter as we do any instance of possible misconduct.  The driver is on investigative leave pending the completion and outcome of our formal investigation.  

Employees who violate our policies are subject to disciplinary action, which can, if warranted, include termination of employment. 

Safety for our passengers and our employees is Veolia's number one priority and drivers are trained to follow specific procedures in dealing with passengers and fare issues.




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