Affidavit: Man appeared to be on meth, yelled about free speech - KPTV - FOX 12

Affidavit: Man appeared to be on meth, yelled about free speech before attacking MAX driver

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James Caldwell in court Monday. (KPTV) James Caldwell in court Monday. (KPTV)
Steven James Caldwell, jail booking photo. Steven James Caldwell, jail booking photo.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A man who appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine kicked and punched a MAX operator after yelling about free speech, according to court documents.

Steven James Caldwell, 23, was arraigned in court Monday on charges of fourth-degree assault, disorderly conduct, interfering with public transportation and interfering with a police officer.

A transit officer responded to a MAX train at 102nd and East Burnside on Friday afternoon on a report of an assault against a TriMet driver.

The MAX operator told police he had been notified about a man yelling loudly on the train about free speech, according to court documents, which caused concern for other passengers.

A week earlier, three men were stabbed and two men were killed on a MAX train in northeast Portland.

The operator made an announcement that he would be stopping the train to remove the disruptive passenger.

The operator left his cabin, approached Caldwell and told him to leave the train. A probable cause affidavit states Caldwell rushed at the operator, kicked him in the chest and knocked him to the ground.

The affidavit states Caldwell then began punching the operator in the head.

Caldwell was spotted by an officer nearby, but police said he ignored multiple commands and advanced on the officer's vehicle. Court documents state the officer drew his weapon and finally took Caldwell into custody.

A probable cause affidavit states the operator positively identified Caldwell as the attacker.

Caldwell admitted kicking the MAX operator because, "he thought he could take it," according to a probable cause affidavit.

Officers said Caldwell appeared to be under the influence of meth, according to the affidavit.

Caldwell is due back in court July 14.

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