OH: RTA Bus Driver Hearing Could Conclude by End of Week

June 24--The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority bus driver who claimed he was attacked by three black youths could learn by the end of the week whether he still has his job.

Police said last week that Rickey Wagoner's claim of being assaulted by the teens wasn't supported by the facts. He told authorities in February he suspected the assault was part of a gang initiation.

RTA representatives met with Wagoner Tuesday to begin the first step in the transit agency's personnel process that could lead to Wagoner's termination. A hearing could be held later this week on Wagoner's employment status, RTA Executive Director Mark Donaghy said.

Donaghy said he expects the process to conclude by week's end.

"This was the first step in the hearing process in relation to the charges Mr. Wagoner faces at the RTA," Donaghy said.

Wagoner's legal representatives will get a chance to present evidence and introduce witnesses in his defense. "It's a labor issue, not a legal proceeding," Donaghy said.

Dayton's City Prosecutor, Stephanie Cook, has declined to file charges based on the police investigation. She also has declined, through a city spokesman, to explain why no charges were filed.

The FBI, which investigated the incident as a possible hate crime against the white bus driver, has concluded that a crime of that type did not occur.

Tuesday, Wagoner's representatives requested more time to review the evidence, Donaghy said.

Wagoner repeatedly has declined comment. The attorney who represented him in the criminal investigation, Jeremiah Denslow said Tuesday, "From my understanding not only the Dayton police but the FBI has done a thorough investigation and a lengthy one. While they believe Mr. Wagoner was not truthful with them, I suspect the authorities didn't feel they could prove it in a court of law."

The investigation also has been reviewed by the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office. On Monday, a coalition of black civil rights groups including the NAACP asked County Prosecutor Mat Heck to consider charging Wagoner.

Office spokesman Greg Flannagan said Tuesday that the police investigation had the potential for misdemeanor charges, which would not be handled by the county prosecutor.

"Our office did have some discussions with the Dayton Police Department concerning this matter and we were assured any possible alleged charges would be misdemeanors. There would not be any felonies they could pursue."

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