Greyhound investigating Pittsburgh man’s complaint of racial profiling by driver
Greyhound is investigating a complaint filed by a Pittsburgh man who said a bus driver racially profiled him in early January during a trip from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., a company official said.
William Anderson, 46, of Homewood, who is black, said the white driver accused him several times of vaping during the trip, harassed him as he was using a restroom on the bus and attempted to have a Maryland state police officer remove him. Vaping is a term for the use of electronic cigarettes.
“I believe that I was targeted, that I was profiled and my constitutional rights were violated by this driver and Greyhound,” Anderson said Saturday. “I was basically in prison while I was on the bus, or held captive by this driver.”
Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker confirmed the company received Anderson’s complaint.
“We’re familiar with the incident, and we’re investigating it now,” she said. “We don’t have any additional information that we can provide.”
Anderson, the owner of a Homewood auto body shop and longtime political and civil rights activist, said a company official informed him last week that the driver has been suspended pending the investigation.
“I can’t speculate what the driver’s feelings were, what caused him to do what he did,” he said.
Anderson said the incident happened as he was traveling Jan. 5 to visit family in Washington. He said the driver accused him of vaping and forced him to sit in a seat near the driver’s seat at the front of the bus. The driver later stopped the bus as Anderson was using the restroom and ordered him out.
Anderson said he suffered a bruised chest because the driver jerked the bus off the highway.
“I wasn’t in the bathroom for 30 seconds when he pulled the bus over to the side of the road and started banging on the door,” Anderson said.
The driver, he said, drove the bus to a Maryland state police station and asked an officer to eject him. Maryland state police did not return a call seeking comment.
“I told (the officer) not only did I not have a vape or a pipe, but that I have never vaped a day in my life,” Anderson wrote in a statement filed with Greyhound. “I then voluntarily emptied out all of my pockets in front of the officer to prove that I had no drugs, no pipes, no (vapes) or any drug paraphernalia on me.”
He said the officer spoke to the driver, who allowed him back on the bus. He rode the rest of the way to Washington without incident.
Tim Stevens, a community activist and chairman of Pittsburgh-based Black Political Empowerment Project, described the incident as “extremely inappropriate and possibly racist” in a letter to Dave Leach, Greyhound’s president and CEO.
“In our opinion your driver jumped to some very troubling conclusions, which we believe may very well be based in racial bias,” Stevens wrote. “His actions were so inappropriate that we think his termination might be in order, as well as a review of your racial and cultural sensitivity training for all staff members.”
Stevens on Saturday said Greyhound called him three times and finally reached him Thursday.
“They said they are taking our letter and Mr. Anderson’s testimony very seriously,” he said. “They are investigating and the driver has been taken off pending the investigation.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .