A 19-year-old man who was reportedly armed with nothing but a cute fluffy white Maltese named “Minnie” was choked by a B6 bus driver in Brooklyn, the NYPD says.
Cops charged the 49-year-old driver, Toussaint Cummings, with Criminal Obstruction of Breathing and Unlawful Imprisonment.
“He’s been removed from service pending the outcome of an investigation,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said of the 16-year-veteran driver from Long Island.
The accused’s union on Thursday suggested the victim, identified by NBC New York as Giovanny Michaga, may have provoked the driver.
Cummings got into a dispute with the victim when he refused his order to get off the bus with the dog Wednesday night.
The MTA forbids animals " unless enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers.” Michaga had the dog in an open carry bag.
The alleged victim boarded the bus in Bath Beach and at some point Cummings allegedly got out of his driver’s seat and put his hands around Michaga’s neck, NBC says, citing sources.
“Our understanding is there was some provocation,” Transit Workers Union 100 spokesman Jim Gannon, told Metro.
The union will stand by Cummings, he added.
“Driving a bus in New York City is pretty stressful,” he said. “The MTA rules are pretty clear about animals.”
Michaga’s sister defended her brother.
"Who tries to strangle anybody for bringing a dog on the bus?" Rosa Michaga told NBC. "That's crazy. It's unbelievable, actually."