PORTLAND – A man accused of attacking a TriMet bus driver was freed from jail Thursday pending his next court appearance and now fellow TriMet drivers are asking for increased safety measures.
Daemon Bowman, 39, is accused of getting upset over a fare and attacking driver Pam Thompson on Dec. 12.
“He grabbed me and turned me around and threw me behind the driver's seat and pinned me between the driver's seat and proceeded to pound my head about 15 times,” Thompson told KGW.
Background: TriMet driver hit 15 times for 50 cents of fare
“I've seen the video and audio—clean, uncut audio—and it's terrifying,” said fellow driver Dan Martin. He’s been driving a bus for more than 10 years and said he was also assaulted on the job.
“Just standing and waiting to relieve a bus and a guy comes out and puts a gun in me and another driver's faces,” Martin said.
He said he’s fed up with fearing and hearing about assaults. He believes the agency should install Plexiglas shields to protect the drivers. Union president Bruce Hansen said TriMet should add even more security measures, like increased policing, additional fare inspectors, and tougher laws.
“It’s a huge issue,” Hansen said. “It's an issue that'll probably end up in legislation again.”
Trimet executive director of safety and security Harry Saporta said the agency has been adding security in light of recent attacks. The agency has already its increased patrols at bus operator lay over zones and installed 4,000 cameras on buses, MAX trains and at stations.
“Those cameras help us apprehend those who might commit a crime on the system,” he said.
But drivers point out that the cameras don't prevent the threats they face on a daily basis. And after Daemon Bowman was accused of pummeling and terrorizing driver Pam Thompson, he was able to walk free. If convicted, he will only face 60 days in jail. The transit union said that is unacceptable.