Woman attacked on a DC Metrobus speaks out

A woman whose assault on a D.C. Metrobus was caught on camera is speaking out about what happened to her.

On Monday afternoon, Kyla Thurston was shown being assaulted by a group of juveniles on a W4 Metrobus after she told them to stop cursing around a mother and her children, to whom she had just given her seat.

In the video, the teenagers can be seen dragging Thurston to the floor, kicking and hitting at her face and body. She said she called out for help to no avail from other passengers, and to the bus driver to stop and let her off.

Thurston said she asked the bus driver numerous times to stop, but the bus kept moving.

“The bus driver made no attempt to stop the bus. He didn’t alert local authorities or anything to my defense,” she said in an interview with Fox5 DC. “Even after I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, ‘Stop the bus. Let me off the bus,’ the bus driver never stopped.”

A spokesman from Metro spoke with WTOP’s Mike Murillo about the incident.

“Metro’s General Manager has personally reached out to the victim to extend his apologies for what she experienced on the W4 bus on Monday evening,” Ian Jannetta said. “Generally, bus operators are only permitted stop at authorized bus stops unless they become aware that an incident jeopardizing safety is occurring on their bus. In those instances, they can stop where it is safe to do so and use an onboard system to send an alarm and contact the Bus Operations Control Center for assistance from a supervisor or Transit Police.”

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents WMATA members among other means of public transportation throughout the D.C.-area, said in a press release that they support the policy of not stopping vehicles at unauthorized stops or attempting to break up a disturbance, as it keeps the operator out of harm’s way.

“Our members are not social workers. Our members aren’t trained to fight or break up fights. Our members aren’t trained to resolve the social issues that cause this violence. The problems our members face every day are far larger than something we can tackle on our own as transit workers,” ATU said in a statement.

Metro Transit Police originally called the video “disturbing and “unacceptable,” and are continuing their investigation into the incident.

The video is attached below; it may be disturbing and sensitive for some viewers.

In a news conference Wednesday morning involving D.C. police, Mayor Muriel Bowser said, without viewing the video, that she was sure it “was traumatizing and [should not] happen,” emphasizing that police presence will keep the city safer.

The Metro Transit Police Department is still investigating and is requesting anyone with information to contact police as soon as possible by calling 202-962-2121.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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