Portland’s MAX Light Rail system has been marred by a series of stabbings and violent incidents. These incidents have garnered significant attention and raised questions about the safety of public transit in the city. While they are relatively rare considering the high ridership numbers, any act of violence on public transportation is cause for concern. One stabbing incident involves Adrian Cummins said a racist slur then stabbed two Black teenagers.
Information shows police officers arrested and took Cummins to the Multnomah County Detention Center at least two times. These contacts with the racist did not find the county’s Correctional Health Division from booking Cummins, 25, into the facility, citing unspecified medical conditions. Multnomah County declined to say what changed with Cummins that made it medically possible to book him into custody.
Stabbings on the MAX have had a profound impact on the Portland community. They have created a sense of unease among commuters, leading some to question the security of public transportation. Additionally, they have highlighted issues related to mental health, homelessness, and social inequality, which often intersect with incidents of violence on the transit system.
A white man, Cummins was indicted by a Multnomah County grand jury on charges that include attempted murder, assault, robbery and bias, Oregon’s statute for hate crimes. In response to incidents like this, both local authorities and transit agencies have taken steps to enhance safety on the MAX and other public transportation systems in the area.
Following a racist 2017 incident, the city and community organizations launched anti-hate initiatives to promote tolerance, diversity, and inclusivity. Transit staff and law enforcement have undergone training in de-escalation techniques to handle potentially dangerous situations without resorting to violence. Cummings not being arrested several times before the stabbings is cause for concern.