ATU 757, the union for TriMet's drivers, said there are hundreds of assaults or attempted assaults against their employees every year, including 170 in 2022.
The union's Vice President Fred Casey told KATU, “I am not aware of any of those going to prosecution on an assault charge. As far as I know, the DA's office has either dropped the charges or settled on a plea deal with a misdemeanor of 'interfering with public transportation.'”
He noted that he does not see the same lax prosecution happening in nearby counties. “There’s a stark difference when something happens on a bus out in Washington County or Clackamas County. And the response is quite different than here in Multnomah County.”
Casey added that drivers “…should not have to have that level of fear coming to work,” Casey said.
The latest criticism leveled at the office of activist prosecutor Mike Schmidt comes after 28-year-old Anna Karen Perez-Velador allegedly stabbed a bus driver in the leg. She has been charged with multiple felonies including second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon.
Despite the seriousness of the charges, Casey doubts that the progressive DA will end up prosecuting Perez-Velador stating, “We have zero confidence, zero confidence that Mike Schmidt and his office is going to prosecute these people the way that they need to be prosecuted.”
Schmidt’s office told KATU that it will be setting up a meeting with ATU 757 sometime this week or next, but Casey is skeptical that will happen.
“We’ve tried to have meetings with them, tried to discuss it with them, and we don’t really get anywhere with Mike Schmidt or Ted [Wheeler]. With Clackamas County and Washington County DA’s it was a different story, there was a lot of engagement and talk with them, so we don’t seem to have the prosecuting issues in those two counties that we do in Multnomah.”
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