Thursday, March 5, 2015

Henry Beasley

Dear Brothers and sisters:
While on the bus last week, I reread a sticker that said, “It is a felony under Oregon law to assault an operator while he or she is operating a public transit vehicle.”  It cites ORS 163.165 as the law that defines an assault as a felony.  BUT, let’s take a look at the law itself:  163.165¹
Assault in the third degree
(d) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes, by means other than a motor vehicle, physical injury to the operator of a public transit vehicle while the operator is in control of or operating the vehicle. As used in this paragraph, public transit vehicle has the meaning given that term in ORS 166.116 (Interfering with public transportation)
To put it in layman’s terms, the bus has to be “moving” in order to classify as a felony.  If the bus “is not moving” it will be relegated to the lesser charge of Interfering with public transportation.  Let’s take a look at this lesser law:  166.116¹
Interfering with public transportation
(1) A person commits the crime of interfering with public transportation if the person:
(a) Intentionally or knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or on a public transit vehicle or public transit station;
(b) Intentionally or knowingly interferes with the provision or use of public transportation services by, among other things, interfering with the movement of, or access to, public transit vehicles;
(c) While in or on a public transit vehicle or public transit station, engages in disorderly conduct in the second degree as defined in ORS 166.025 (Disorderly conduct in the second degree); or
(d) Subjects a public transportation passenger, employee, agent or security officer or transit police officer to offensive physical contact.
The point to all of this is that when we started, we were told that assaulting a bus operator was a felony which turns out to be a halve truth.  Remember when our Sister Pam Thompson was assaulted and received a terrible beating at the hands of a man who got upset for not paying his proper fare and took it out on her?  Can you remember hearing her voice and shake inside with anger that this is happening to a wonderful woman as Pam (Suspect arrested in TriMet bus driver attack ) or any one of hundreds in the past three years, or the three that happened in January? We were all shaking our heads thinking that this man deserved serious jail time, and he didn’t, this is why. Remember when our paid representatives had the opportunity to turn things around with actions and not just words (TriMet drivers concerned after suspect's release) or the company standard response (ROBERTA ALDSTEDT EVADES THE QUESTION )? Must we continue asking ourselves, “are we any safer out there than any other time in the past?  So far neither side has addressed it with any serious push to provide “reasonable” safety for the essential employee.  As stated in the past, WHAT WILL IT TAKE??
Well, since there has been no solution to this on-going issue; here is one GET THE LAW CHANGED!  Since we spend $$$$$$ per years on Lobbyist, which has not gotten anything substantively (that members know of) and join with the company’s Lobbyist and take it to the Legislature in a joint effort to get something concrete to make it a felony.  Sitting back and doing nothing, like business as usual will not protect the next operator.
Lastly, don’t be lolled into a false since of security thinking that this law will be a deterrent when it is clearly misleading. I implore fellow Brothers and Sisters, who find yourselves “victims or survivors”, of these crimes against you to:
1.      Report these situations to Dispatch, Supervisors, peers and managers immediately.
2.      Remove yourselves from the situation i.e. the bus/vehicle.
3.      Fill out the report as soon as you can, with as much detail as you can remember.
4.      GO HOME; this is where you can fully recover from the crime that was committed against you.
Your health and wellbeing are most important to you, your family, friends and fellow members.  We are out there by ourselves and we need to support each other in these situations.  This also goes for fellow members that are not on the front lines, remember, be aware of your surroundings, keep communications open, report things out of the ordinary while you are out there doing your jobs.
Henry Beasley
Your Brother on the front lines
Union Strong


Nonpartisantoo said...

I doubt that interpretation is correct. If the operator is on the brake pedal, he/she is in control of the vehicle. If the operator is in the operator's seat and performing vehicle-related functions, he/she is in control of the vehicle. If opening the doors, closing the doors, deploying or stowing the ramp, kneeling the bus, raising the bus, changing the sign, printing a fare receipt . . . the operator is operating the vehicle. All ancillary devices that are installed in the bus are parts of the vehicle.

Police will cite for texting while driving when stopped at a stoplight. The driver is still operating the vehicle, even if the vehicle is stopped. I've come to understand -- and this may be incorrect, but -- if you're pulled over to the side of the road, even in a parking space, and the vehicle is still running, the driver is still operating the vehicle and can be cited for texting while driving. Only if the vehicle is turned off on the side of the road would the driver no longer be operating the vehicle and could lawfully text on a cellphone.

Get a lawyer or a law enforcement officer to answer. But I'm confident on the interpretation of a bus driver operating a vehicle and pretty confident on the regular vehicle driver.

Neil Mcfartlane said...

I Blame LIBERALS the State of Oregon and the city of Portland are ran by Libtarts!... what happens if you punch a driver in Texas, Alabama Idaho.... I Dare you do a comparison between Republican States and

Neil Mcfartlane said...

Liberal states find out what the ones that protect their drivers...

Henry Beasley said...

Nonpar....tell that to the assaulted op, when they were surprised he didn't get jail time. Then again you make assumptions based on your personal thoughts not facts.

Former Field Rail/Bus Supervisor said...

Neil McFarlan is the problem, he has never driven a bus and he could force the lobbyists to fight for a better bill to assure that his employees are better protected with a tougher law. But he has to make it political saying it is a liberal state is the problem.

Every police officer interprets the law differently and as the TriMet codes the transit officers use. It is up to the DA to assure they have enough evidence to proceed in court or a jury trial. It all depends of the degree of assault (damage) to the person as to what the perp get arrested for, felony 1 or felony 2 and so on. Get a jury trial they may have some on there that ride the bus system and wold be in favor of jail time. But it all is based on the evidence.