Bias crime case initiated after 48-year-old man allegedly threatens a TriMet employee with a knife

Bias crime case initiated after 48-year-old man allegedly threatens a TriMet employee with a knife

Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced the filing of a four-count charging document against 48-year-old Dorian Cannon who is accused of intentionally placing an essential employee in fear of imminent serious physical injury due to his perception of the victim’s race and the color of his skin.

Cannon is charged with one count of bias crime in the first degree, one count of unlawful use of a weapon, one count of menacing and one count of interfering with public transportation.

The victim is African American and is employed as a TriMet operator. 

It is alleged that on June 15, 2020, Cannon used racial hate speech to describe the victim after he threatened the driver with a knife.

According to court documents, on June 15, Portland police received information about a disturbance at the Parkrose Transit Station involving a man, later identified as Cannon, hanging onto a bus window and preventing the bus from moving. While officers responded, they received additional information that Cannon pulled out a knife and attempted to board the bus through the driver’s window and that he was poking the window with the knife.

The bus driver told police that Cannon approached the bus while the driver prepared to start his route, according to court documents. The driver told Cannon that he could not board and needed to go to a designated pick up location.

The driver reported Cannon became irate and grabbed onto the bus windshield wiper. When the driver attempted to move the bus, Cannon jumped in front of the vehicle and started poking the window of the bus with the knife, according to court documents.

Police took Cannon into custody without further incident. When questioned by an officer, Cannon used racial hate speech when providing an account of the incident, according to court documents.

According to court records, a judge convicted Cannon of one count of criminal mischief in the first degree and one count of bias crime in the second degree for a bias crime that occurred on December 10, 2019 that also involved Cannon using racial hate speech toward a TriMet bus driver. That case is documented under C# 19CR80222.

Like in all criminal and civil matters, electronic copies of court documents, which are not subject to a protective order, are available to the public through the Oregon eCourt Information (OECI) system.

No additional information can be released by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office at this time pursuant to the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.

A charging document is only an accusation of a crime. Cannon is innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office was an active participant of the Oregon Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Task Force and helped draft the language that was in Senate Bill 577. The law, which went into effect on July 15, 2019, renamed the crime of “intimidation” to “bias crime,” added gender identity to the list of protected categories and removed the requirement that two or more people commit the crime in order to make it a felony in certain circumstances.

All potential bias crime cases, whether they are a felony or misdemeanor, are reviewed by the Violent Crimes Unit within the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. If a misdemeanor crime is issued, the felony-level attorney will retain the case.

If you are the victim of a bias crime assault or you are witnessing one, immediately call 9-1-1. If you are the victim of a bias crime and the suspect is no longer present or if you have information about a bias crime committed in the past, call the non-emergency line at 503-823-3333.