OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — As BART continues to deal with growing concerns over rider safety, one of the victims of a mob attack on a train last spring on Tuesday called for the release of surveillance video that captured the incident.
On April 22, Livermore resident Rusty Stapp and his wife and daughter were on BART, coming home from celebrating his daughter’s 19th birthday.
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“We’re riding the train back from the city,” remembered Stapp. “It was 10:30 at night, so it wasn’t late. And suddenly we have 30 individuals rushed onto the train. There’s nowhere to go.”
The incident happened when the train was stopped at the Oakland Coliseum/Airport station.
“So, myself and my family. we were victim of the April 22 mob attack when 47 individuals invaded the Coliseum station boarded the train beat and robbed a number of us individuals,” said Stapp.
Stapp and his attorney, who is representing two other attack victims, filed suit against BART in May for $3 million for failing to prevent the attack. He says the thieves were at a party and when Oakland police broke the party up, they headed for BART.
“47 of them jumped the turnstiles and entered the station and then they boarded our train,” said Stapp. “And before they boarded our train, they had been beating on the side of the train. And yet the operator still let them on the train.”
Stapp was kicked in the ribs while his wife lay on top of their daughter to protect her. Seven people were robbed. The thieves made off with cell phones, a duffel bag and a purse.
On Tuesday, Stapp told the BART safety committee to release the surveillance video of the incident.
“I think making the videos public of the incidents helps inform the passengers of what’s going on, how to recognize these things and to work with the agency on how to prevent these things from happening in the future,” said Stapp.
BART has given multiple reasons for why the video hasn’t been released, but one reason is because they believe the attackers are minors. Stapp argues the suspects were repeat offenders.
“The police knew who these individuals were, so you’re right. Protecting them at that point…I don’t know what you’re quite protecting,” said Stapp. “It sounds more like you’re protecting yourself rather than the individuals or the public.”