An unprovoked attack on a woman riding BART from city college drew a seemingly disingenuous response from the transit agency, with a spokesperson terming the random attack as "out of the ordinary" though a similar series of attacks had just happened on the system last month.
It's just the latest in a string of onboard-BART violence so severe that passengers have started suing the transit agency for failing to keep them safe. This time, KRON 4 reports, a man came up behind a woman and "sucker punched" her, leaving her with wounds to the face.
According to Edgar Paz, whose daughter was the victim in the attack, his daughter was on BART between the Oakland Coliseum and San Leandro Stations. As the train approached San Leandro, the suspect hit the woman in the face as she sat.
“She was coming back from City College, and the man walked up to her from behind and sucker punched her,” Paz told KRON 4. “No one helped her. She gathered up her belongings and tried to get a picture of him," getting a photo as the attacker walked away.
Paz says he contacted BART police, "but was not impressed with their response."
When contacted by KRON 4, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost ably toed the company line, saying “Super strange incident here. What we had here was somebody was hit, and it was completely unprovoked, and there was no robbery involved. Something very out of the ordinary and very alarming for us to hear that happened.”
Leaving aside for the moment the possible implication here that BART might consider robbery to be "ordinary" (if so, they're not wrong!) is the troublingly short memory the transit agency appears to demonstrate. After all, it was just August 7 when BART held a press conference and sent a press release to media with photos of a suspect in a series of unprovoked, random attacks on BART.
That suspect, 42-year-old Berkeley resident Mario Christopher Washington, was arrested after an Oakland Fire Department investigator recognized him from the media coverage of those released photos. And now it appears that this recent case might get the similar treatment, as Trost says “What we’re doing right now is trying to figure out what train she was on. She wasn’t really sure, and we’ll have to pull all of the cameras from each and every one of the cars, and that’s why it takes a little bit longer."
"We’ll also pull surveillance footage, so that we can get an image of the suspect, share it with local law enforcement to see who this person was," Trost says.
"But overall, BART is absolutely safe," Trost said, with a completely straight face and no winking or anything. "Things like this actually very rarely happen." Guess it all depends on your definition of "absolutely safe" and "very rare."