Mourners lit candles and laid flowers at a memorial for Taliesin Namkai-Meche of Ashland, Ore. Namkai-Meche died in 2017 while trying to defend young women of color on a MAX train in Portland.

Mourners lit candles and laid flowers at a memorial for Taliesin Namkai-Meche of Ashland, Ore. Namkai-Meche died in 2017 while trying to defend young women of color on a MAX train in Portland.

Liam Moriarty/JPR

The sister of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, one of two men fatally stabbed on a MAX train, is suing TriMet and the Portland Police Bureau, through its Transit Division, for wrongful death.  

Vajra Alaya-Maitreya is suing the agencies for more than $10 million, claiming that her brother’s death could have been avoided if TriMet and PPB’s transit officers had taken more action.  

Namkai-Meche was stabbed and killed while attempting to intervene when Jeremy Christian was yelling hate speech at two African-American girls on the train in May of 2017.  

The lawsuit states that both TriMet and PPB had prior knowledge of Christian’s “violent propensities.” Christian harassed and assaulted Demetria Hester, an African-American woman, on a MAX train a day before the stabbing. 

According to previous reporting by OPB, Hester said that she attempted multiple times to alert the conductor to no avail.  

Portland Police did not arrest Christian after that incident.  

“TriMet had a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent criminal activity in the confined spaces of its stations, platforms and trains,” the lawsuit states. “This includes preventing assaults on passengers and customers.” 

Specifically, the lawsuit says TriMet failed to enforce its own rules, such as monitoring the security of its passengers, prohibiting weapons and hate speech and adequately training its operators and other personnel in the appropriate way to handle potentially violent passengers.