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Woman Who Threw Urine at Bus Driver Arrested After Failing to Show Up in Court

The woman who admitted to throwing a cup of her own urine at D.C. bus driver in August has been arrested after failing to show up for a scheduled court appearance, Metro said. 

Opal Brown was arrested shortly before 6 p.m. Friday in Southeast D.C., Metro said.

Brown, 38, had turned herself in to police four days after her Aug. 26 bus ride ended with a Metrobus driver doused in urine. But police said she did not show up for a court appearance on Thursday.

Surveillance video from a X2 bus showed Brown urinating into a purple to-go cup and then throwing the contents of the cup onto the driver

"To say bizarre is really an understatement. It's a vulgar assault," Metro Transit police Chief Ron Pavlik said three days after the assault. 

Brown called News4 on Aug. 30 and said she wanted to explain what happened. She said she was running late for an appointment that Saturday evening when she got on the X2 bus. She said she needed to relieve herself.

"I had to go to the bathroom real, real bad. You know what I'm saying," Brown said in a phone interview with News4's Adam Tuss. "I just peed in a cup."

She said she intended to throw the cup of urine away. Then, as she was about to get off the bus at Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue about 6:15 p.m., the bus driver spoke to her. 

"She said, 'Have a nice day,' all sarcastically," Brown said. "She could have been more courteous."

She threw the liquid onto the driver, who soon realized it was urine. 

Surveillance video showed Brown running away. 

The driver was taken to a hospital and "decontaminated," police said. The bus was taken out of service for cleaning. 

In the days after the assault, Police told News4 that there was no apparent motive.

"I was provoked. I hate Metro," Brown said.

"I’ve been catching Metro for 35 years. They've never done s--- for me," the Southeast D.C. resident said.

Tuss asked Brown if the bus driver had done anything specific to provoke the assault.

"No, no, no," she replied. Later, she said, "She was waving me off and flicking me off."

Also, she said the driver gave her a rude look.

"I did feel bad," Brown said. She said she wants to apologize to the driver. 

News4 was there as Brown was arrested the morning of Aug. 30 by Metro Transit Police.

"Why did you do what you did?" News4's Pat Collins asked

"I'm not going to say that. But I apologize to my community," Brown said as officers led her away in handcuffs.

"I'm sorry, y'all, but she had to get it!" Brown said.

Why?" Collins asked.

"I'm tired of Metro!" Brown shouted as officers led her up a Metro escalator.

Brown has three children and one grandchild, she told News4. She is a theological student who celebrated her mother's 70th birthday earlier on Saturday near the scene of the crime, her Facebook page says.

Here's what she posted to the page at 6:35 a.m. Aug. 30, shortly before she called News4:

"OK YALL KNOW IT WAS ME WHO DID THE BAD STUFF TO THE METRO OPERATOR!!!

BUT I WANT TO APOLOGIZE TO HER BUT METRO OWE ME AND SHR WAS BEING VERY RUDE. SO AT 2:40 AM I WALKED UP TO THE POLICE THAT WAS AT BENCO SND CONFESSED TO IT CUZ IT WAS ON MY HEART ALL DAY. BUT ANYWHO TRANSIT CAME. AND THEY WERE REALLY COOL I ALMOST FELT LIKE A CELEBRITY. IT TOOK ALL OF 20 MINUTES JUST GOTTA GO TO COURT FOR THE SIMPLE ASULT."

Brown works for a grocery company and graduated from Dunbar High School in 1997, her Facebook page says.

She was first due in court Aug. 31 and was charged with assault.

She pleaded not guilty. 

The judge ordered that Brown undergo a mental health evaluation. Then, the judge was required to release her because the charge was a misdemeanor, not a felony.

The court room was packed with members of the large Metro workers union Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689. They called for tougher penalties for anyone who assaults a bus driver.

Also, the bus drivers said they want Brown banned from Metro.

Brown -- who spoke with News4 on the phone after the incident and during her arrest -- covered her face outside the courthouse and refused to speak with reporters.

Her pastor attended the court appearance with her and said the case falls at the intersection of Brown's mental health problems and those of a troubled transit system.

"There has been exhibits or challenges before, but we've worked through them, and we pray, with the grace of God, we'll work through this as well," said Pastor Robert Clemetson of Redeeming Love Church in Bowie, Maryland. "More importantly, we pray for the bus operator who was affected by this."

The next day, service was delayed on the X2 line for hours after drivers said Metro refused to protect them.

The operators said that they could not safely operate their buses following the attack and what they describe as years of inaction by management. Metro's largest union held a news conference Sept. 1 to demand better safety measures for drivers.

"I'm not going to wait until one of my drivers is killed to say, 'You need to do something,'" union President Jackie Jeter said. "It's time to do something different."

A recent security report released by the Metro Transit Police Department showed assaults on bus operators rose about 20 percent for the first six months of 2017 when compared to the same time frame in 2016. Anthony Garland, of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said bad passenger behavior has become so rampant that drastic measures are needed.

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