WASHINGTON - A D.C. woman charged with throwing a cup filled with urine at a Metrobus driver pleaded not guilty and was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation after making her first appearance in court Thursday.
Opal Brown was also ordered to stay away from the victim and not to ride the Metrobus X2 line before she was released from the courthouse.
Breaking: Brown refuses to speak and covers her face as she leaves court pic.twitter.com/8OHyui7W4t— Matt Ackland (@mattacklandfox5) August 31, 2017
Police say Brown riding on a Metrobus that was traveling near Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road in Northeast D.C. at around 6:15 p.m. Saturday when she doused the driver with urine that was in a purple cup.
According to court documents, Brown was about to exit the bus when the driver told the suspect to “Have a nice day.” Brown responded saying, “Are you talking to me?” before throwing the urine on the female driver.
After Metro Transit Police released surveillance video of the incident on Tuesday, the 38-year-old Southeast D.C. woman was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault the following day after turning herself in to police.
Court documents say Brown admitted to committing the assault and told police she tossed the urine because she was mad at the driver and hates Metro. She also wrote an apology letter and had it in her possession when she was taken into custody by police.
Metro Transit Police said they also have video of Brown urinating into the cup on the bus before pouring it on the driver.
Brown covered her face and refused to speak to reporters after she walked out of the courthouse on Thursday. The judge said he could not keep her held because this was a simple assault and not a felony charge.
"The first thing we want to do is apologize to the operator for what should have never happened to anyone serving in public service," said Robert Clemetson, Brown's pastor. "I think, however, this is a tragic intersection between public health issues and public transportation issues."
The union that represents Metrobus drivers also packed the courtroom on Thursday. After the court hearing, members said Brown should be banned from the entire transit system and are asking for local leaders to do more to protect operators. The union has asked D.C., Maryland and Virginia to make it a felony charge when someone assaults a transit operator or worker. It also asked for the person in charge of Metro's bus operations to step down.
The bus driver was taken to the hospital to be decontaminated, but was not injured in the incident.
Brown is scheduled to return to court in September.