‘A melee that should never have happened’: Police investigate racial abuse filmed on Adelaide bus

Police are investigating after videos showing an altercation — which became physical and involved racial abuse — on an Adelaide bus circulated on social media over the weekend.

The videos, posted on Facebook, show a young man who appears to be Caucasian verbally abusing three young women who appear to be of African descent.

The young man can be seen shouting racial abuse at the young women and pushing another young woman who appears to have intervened.

He can be heard saying “f*** off you African c***” before one of the young women in the group appears to grab at his neck and slap at him.

The young man appears to be holding a can of alcohol.

Hà Linhh, who shared her videos of the fight on social media, condemned the incident.

“When this drunk guy saw the girls talking on the back of the bus, he started cursing and saying racist sentences at those girls,” Ms Linhh said.

“They started cursing at each other and fighting on the bus.”

A red Adelaide Metro bus on a road in Adelaide's CBD.
The incident happened on what appeared to be an Adelaide Metro bus heading out of the city.(ABC News: Dean Faulkner)

SA Police (SAPOL) today confirmed officers responded to reports of “a group of people fighting on a bus” at West Croydon around 8:30pm on Sunday.

“When patrols arrived, the bus had left the stop already,” the SAPOL spokesperson said.

“Patrols conducted an extensive search of the area but were not able to locate anyone involved. No victims were able to be identified at that time.”

The spokesperson said police were aware of the videos circulating on social media “which appear to relate to the incident” and that police would be investigating.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Incidents reaching ‘crisis point’, union says

Transport Workers’ Union senior branch official Matt Burnell said incidents like the one filmed on Sunday night had been happening “on a weekly basis” in recent years.

“We’ve been trying to engage with the Marshall Government now for quite some time, to address this concern.”

Mr Burnell labelled the circumstances of the incident “outrageous”.

“We’re deeply concerned by what we’ve seen on there … Several passengers engaging in a melee that should never have happened,” he said.

“What we see on a weekly basis is drivers being assaulted, passengers being assaulted, and just general antisocial behaviour that needs to stop.”

None of the videos show the bus driver intervening, drawing condemnation from people commenting on the Facebook post, as well as Ms Linhh.

“The problem is that the bus driver did not act to stop him [the young man],” Ms Linhh said.

But Mr Burnell said the driver followed protocols put in place by authorities to keep himself safe.

Matt Burnell stands in front of a Transport Workers' Union sign
Transport Workers’ Union’s Matt Burnell said incidents like the one filmed on Sunday were happening regularly.(ABC News)

“There’s a lot of people out there saying ‘should have done this, should have done that’,” Mr Burnell said.

“Our drivers aren’t sufficiently protected on the bus.

“It’s very hard for a driver to intervene in a situation like this — what we do know is that it can escalate the situation.”

Mr Burnell said a driver’s primary role is to get the bus “from point A to point B, not to get involved in melees”.

About 10 per cent of South Australian drivers responded to a recent union survey, showing around 82 per cent had been subjected to verbal assault and around 62 per cent had faced physical assault.

“This is a crisis point — it’s been boiling over for far too long,” Mr Burnell said.

“Drivers shouldn’t expect to have to put up with this behaviour, but neither should the travelling public.”

The union has called on the State Government to meet several demands, including ride-along security on high-risk routes, “emergency communication devices” to improve response times for serious incidents and a public awareness campaign.

Ms Linhh went on to say the incident was “a very disappointing experience for me and my friend in Australia”.

“I hope everyone who encounters such a situation bravely condemns and exposes [it] so that racism no longer exists, because people have the same human rights and equal rights anywhere in the world,” Ms Linhh said.