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Records: COTA bus driver attacks, breaks 63-year-old man's jaw during argument

COTA said the company was horrified by the video of the incident and the driver has been fired.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Central Ohio Transit Authority bus driver was charged after breaking a 63-year-old man's jaw by punching, kicking and stomping on his head last month in east Columbus, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records.

The man was riding a COTA bus and slept through the stop he wanted to exit at on April 26. As he was about to get off the bus near North Champion Avenue and East Long Street, he asked the driver, 30-year-old Jaleel Palmer, which direction East Livingston Avenue was.

Records say the two got into an argument, with Palmer yelling at the man to get off the bus. He got off the bus and walked west on East Long Street.

As the man was walking, he saw Palmer outside the bus on Ohio Avenue and another argument happened.

Surveillance video from the COTA bus shows the two arguing about two or three feet apart from each other. As the man was walking away, Palmer runs toward him and punches him in the face. The man appears to be unconscious and falls face first on the curb. Palmer kicked the man in the head six times and stomped on his head twice, according to court records.

He was taken to a hospital and his jaw was wired shut, according to records. Two days later, he filed a police report.

Palmer was arrested and bonded out of jail. He has been charged with felonious assault.

A spokesperson for COTA released a statement saying the company is horrified by Palmer's actions and he has been fired.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the victim. This incident does not reflect the hundreds of hardworking and courteous COTA transit operators who provide a valuable service to our communities every day," COTA said in a release.

Palmer is due in court for arraignment on June 9.

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