PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local man, who was assaulted while driving a bus, discovered recently that his attacker’s case is being dropped due to a lack of public defenders.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said that nearly 300 cases have been dropped in total this year due to a lack of public defenders and that 180 of them dropped after being set over one or more times — five of those were cases in their domestic violence unit.
KOIN 6 News spoke to Chris Day, who says a passenger maced him in February while he was driving a bus. Day found out last week that the person’s case was dropped since there wasn’t a lawyer to represent them.
“They pulled their mace out and emptied it out in the entire driver area,” he said. “The burning was so much that I couldn’t open my eyes. I was trying to get the bus secured. I was trying to get help.”
Day said that it wasn’t the first time he’s been attacked on the job. He was a bus driver for more than 15 years and now hopes to transition to an office job.
“I’m upset. We’re alone out there on the bus,” he said. “It’s very few that get caught and now the ones who are caught are not getting prosecuted and not getting the help they need.”
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt sent KOIN 6 a statement on the matter saying in part; “For someone to be attacked while they are at work is absolutely unacceptable and demands accountability. Working people deserve nothing short of feeling safe every single day. Prosecutors in my office have and will continue to issue cases for prosecution and reissue cases that have been dismissed as soon as we are able. We refuse to turn our backs on victims simply because one pillar of our justice system is crumbling.”