PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The family of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, who was stabbed to death on a MAX train almost exactly 2 years ago, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against TriMet and the Portland Police Bureau for at least $10 million.
Vajra Alaya-Maitreya filed the lawsuit Thursday in Multnomah County. She was appointed as her brother’s estate representative shortly after he was killed.
Namkai-Meche’s mother, Asha Deliverance, told KOIN 6 News she is the one behind the lawsuit.
“It’s myself and has nothing to do with my children at all,” she said. “My daughter is actually just representing Taliesin’s estate, so she legally has to fill out all the paperwork, but it’s actually myself that’s considered the one.”
She said while it’s helpful, the lawsuit isn’t about the money.
“This is really a statement about trying to get some of our social systems to step up and address some of the issues,” Deliverance said.
On Friday, Myhanh Best, wife of 53-year-old Ricky John Best, who also was killed in the attack, sued TriMet and Portland police, also claiming both agencies negligently failed to keep light-rail trains safe for passengers. Myhahn Best is also seeking $10 million in damages.
Alaya-Maitreya’s lawsuit claims TriMet is responsible because the accused killer, Jeremy Christian, was making loud, racist claims in the days and minutes before the attack that killed Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best and seriously wounded Micah Fletcher on May 26, 2017.
PPB is also named because they did not arrest Christian for incidents on the MAX train in the days before the fatal attack.
Myhanh Best’s lawsuit mirrors those claims, saying TriMet and the Portland Police Bureau did not hold Christian even though he was well-known to police for more than a dozen years because of his violent behavior and loud threats toward people of color.
At the time of his death, Namkai-Meche was working at a local company as an environmental economic analyst. The 23-year-old was a graduate of Reed College with a degree in economics. Best was a US Army veteran who worked for the city’s Bureau of Development Services.
The trial for Jeremy Christian has been postponed until 2020.
The Portland Tribune, a media partner with KOIN 6 News, contributed to this report