The first precursor to a lawsuit, which could be one of several or many to be filed in the high-profile swarm robbery two weeks ago that left multiple BART passengers injured and seven people robbed, has been filed by a Dublin father, his wife, and daughter, who were accosted and robbed onboard their train that night. "We believe this is gross negligence," said attorney Paul Justi, speaking to KRON 4 on behalf of Russell and Patricia Stapp and their 18-year-old daughter, Amanda. They've filed civil claims against the transit agency totaling $3 million after Mr. Stapp was beaten and kicked, his cellphone stolen out of his hand, and his wife's purse was also stolen containing two cellphones and other valuables after a group of 30-60 youths stormed their Dublin/Pleasanton-bound train at Coliseum Station the night of April 22.
"There's better security at the mall, there's better security at the public library than exists on BART right now," says Russell Stapp in the KRON 4 video above from a Monday press event. Stapp further says to the Chronicle, "Uber is going to get a lot of my money because it’s hard to get on BART [now],” explaining that his last trip to San Francisco from his home in Dublin "was hell. Every little bump and noise, I’m looking around now going, what’s going to happen? And I don’t want to go out in public like that."
The Stapps's account, via the legal claims which are precursors to full lawsuits contends that BART workers, and the driver of the train, had to have known about the presence of the mob, and they missed multiple opportunities to protect passengers from the attack including the driver, who could have chosen, or been instructed, to keep the train doors closed and depart the station after the teens began banging on the windows and shouting into the cars.
Russell Stapp claims two male suspects were punching him and a third kicked him before he surrendered his cellphone, and a female suspect grabbed his wife's purse as she huddled over their daughter to protect her as the family was on the way home from a dinner in SF celebrating their daughter's birthday. Neither of them was severely injured.
Per KRON 4, their attorney has identified 11 safety measures BART could have taken to prevent the attack, but failed to take.
In the Monday news conference Stapp got even more dramatic in his indictment of BART security saying, "BART has taken in tens of millions of dollars from Homeland Security. If they can’t protect individuals riding it from juveniles, how can they protect [against] terrorism?... They can't protect families riding BART at 9:30 at night.”
In the wake of the incident, BART police have authorized more overtime and beefed up station patrols the way they would after a disaster or terrorist attack, and several suspects among the dozens caught on surveillance video in the attack have been identified and warrants have been issued for their arrest. Meanwhile it's also come to light that robberies on BART trains and in stations are up 45 percent year over year for the first several months of 2017, and crime is up 22 percent overall.