Portland police are investigating the Aug. 6 assault of a ride-hailing company driver as a possible hate crime.
Officers said they responded to a report of a male ride-hailing passenger assaulting a driver at 10 pm near the area of Southwest 18th Avenue and Southwest Salmon Street.
"During the assault," police said in a statement, "the suspect made comments related to the driver's gender identity."
The driver sustained non-life threatening injuries and police are investigating the assault as a potentially bias-motivated crime.
Gender identity was added to the list of protected categories in bias crime investigations on July 15, when Senate Bill 577 passed the Oregon Legislature. The bill also removed the requirement that two or more people had to commit the bias crime in order to make it a felony under some circumstances.
Update, Sept. 9, 3 pm: Lyft says in a statement that the driver works for the company and that the suspect's account has been deactivated.
"Safety is fundamental to Lyft. What the driver described is frightening, and the rider's access to Lyft has been permanently removed," the company says. "We responded immediately and have been in close contact with the driver since the incident to offer our support. We have reached out to the authorities and will continue to help in anyway we can."