The family of one of the victims in the 2017 MAX stabbing has filed a lawsuit against TriMet and the Portland Police Bureau for failing to keep Jeremy Christian off public transit despite past reports of violence from passengers.
On May 26, 2017, Christian boarded a MAX train and accosted two black teenage girls, one wearing a hijab. He allegedly made racist and xenophobic comments aimed at the girls, before three men on the train intervened.
Christian stabbed Taliesin Namkai-Meche, Rick Best and Micah Fletcher. Namkai-Meche and Best died from their injuries.
Christian's murder and hate crime trial is scheduled to begin January 2020.
A recently filed civil lawsuit alleges police and TriMet employees should have intervened to keep Christian off the MAX train after two incidents the previous day alerted officials to his erratic and potentially violent behavior.
Christian allegedly boarded a yellow line train on May 25, 2017, the day before the fatal attacks, and "began ranting hate speech about African Americans, Jews, Mexicans, and Japanese." The suit says the man threatened to kill anyone who obstructed his way.
"He then accosted and assaulted an African American woman on the train. The woman tried to alert Defendant TriMet's train operator, pounding on the compartment door three times, but was ignored," the suit alleges. "Once off the train, the woman found a Portland Police officer and/or a Transit Police officer and pointed out Mr. Christian, but the officer(s) failed to detain Mr. Christian, or investigate the incident further."
In a second incident, Christian allegedly hopped on a blue line train and continued to spew hate speech and make threats to stab other passengers over a 15 minute train ride, without intervention from TriMet employees or police.
The family of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, who died at age 23 after being stabbed by Christian, filed the new lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court May 23. They are seeking $10,100,000 in economic and non-economic damages.