A bus driver was charged with fourth-degree assault after removing a passenger from a bus in a chokehold and causing the passenger to lose consciousness, according to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel.
On Aug. 20, 25-year-old Bend resident Dorian Lee Allstot was attempting to board a Cascades East Transit bus at Hawthorne Station, when the driver, 44-year-old Michael Lee Brinster, said he couldn’t get on the bus because he wasn’t wearing shoes.
A surveillance video released Thursday by the DA shows Allstot board the bus anyway. Brinster again tells Allstot that he needs to get off the bus because he isn’t wearing shoes.
“No shirt, no shoes, no service,” Brinster says in the video. “Get off my bus or I will remove you off my bus.”
Brinster is seen yelling at Allstot to get off the bus, using profanities, before he drags Allstot out of his seat in a chokehold.
Brinster left Allstot on the sidewalk near Hawthorne Bus Station and didn’t call for medical attention, Hummel said.
In the video, Allstot regains consciousness and challenges Brinster to a fight. Hummel said Allstot pulled out a knife and spit in Brinster’s face.
In the video, Brinster calls for help on a phone. “He’s threatening me right now and I need police services right now,” Brinster said. “I need help.”
Police arrived at the scene and found no other witnesses who were willing to identify themselves and provide statements.
After interviewing Brinster and Allstot, police arrested Allstot for unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and harassment. Brinster was not initially arrested, Hummel said, because Brinster told police Allstot threatened him with a knife prior to the chokehold.
Later in the investigation, police obtained video surveillance from the bus. Hummel asked Allstot be released from jail until further investigation could be made.
After reviewing the videos, Hummel charged Brinster with fourth-degree assault and strangulation. Allstot was charged with harassment and menacing.
“There is no place in society for conduct like this,” Hummel said. “The fact this happened on a transit bus that regularly serves many of our most vulnerable residents is disheartening.”
Tammy Baney, executive director of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, said Brinster has been terminated from his job at Paratransit Services, which is the contract service provider for Cascades East Transit’s Bend Fixed Route Service.
Baney confirmed CET does not have a policy against riding barefoot.
“We are shocked and saddened by the events which occurred between the driver and passenger,” Baney said. “The team of drivers and staff that provide transit services in our region take great pride in their work; the behavior of this individual is deeply upsetting and not a reflection of the service the drivers provide each and every day.”
Brinster has prior felony convictions for I.D. theft, theft and criminal mistreatment. Allstot has a prior misdemeanor tresspassing conviction.
Brinster is set to appear in court on Sept. 29 at 1:15 p.m. Allstot will appear in court on Sept. 30 at 1:15 p.m.