The families of two men who were fatally stabbed on a MAX train in 2017 sued the Portland Police Bureau and TriMet for wrongful death in May. In recent court filings, the two agencies said they are not at fault.
The victims’ families are suing PPB and TriMet for a total of $20 million in separate lawsuits. They claim the deaths of Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche could have been avoided if the agencies had taken more action.
Prosecutors have said Best and Namkai-Meche were stabbed and killed when trying to defend two African-American girls on the train who were being menaced by Jeremy Christian. A third man, Micah Fletcher, was also stabbed, and survived.
PPB and TriMet are refuting the claim they could have prevented the deaths. In court filings they said the only person at fault is Christian, the man accused of the stabbings.
The families' lawsuits said both TriMet and Portland Police had multiple opportunities to intervene, citing previous incidents in which Christian acted violently on public transit — including an incident where Christian harassed and assaulted an African-American woman on a MAX train a day prior to the stabbings.
The lawsuits have been put on hold until Christian goes to trial, which is scheduled to begin in January.