Boy Robbed at Gunpoint Prompts Lawsuit Against BART - NBC Bay Area
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Boy Robbed at Gunpoint Prompts Lawsuit Against BART

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    The family of a 12-year-old boy is suing BART saying there was insufficient security at the El Cerrito del Norte station when their son was robbed at gunpoint. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Thursday, March 2, 2017)

    The family of a 12-year-old boy is suing BART, saying there was insufficient security at the El Cerrito del Norte station when their son was robbed at gunpoint.

    The incident happened last April, and the boy was not hurt. The boy told his mom he gave his backpack to the robber, held onto his cellphone and ran away.

    "The suspect put the gun in my son’s side and told my son to go the stairwell," the boy's mother said. "He specifically stated because there was no camera there."

    The woman's attorney said the stairwell where the boy was held up at gunpoint is a dead zone in the BART system.

    "The perpetrator apparently knew there were no cameras there," Paul Justi said.

    Last year, BART's security cameras came under fire when police were investigating a killing on a train. During the investigation, BART admitted some of the cameras on its trains were decoys.

    The lawsuit also claims BART did not release a suspect sketch to avoid bad publicity.

    BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said the agency took the case very seriously.

    "We responded to the best of our ability. The boy’s mother called us to report this incident two hours after it happened," Trost said in an email to NBC Bay Area. "We took a phone report and immediately assigned an investigator."

    Trost added BART hired a sketch arist and shared the sketch with surrounding law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area.

    "We certainly never told the family we wouldn’t share the sketch with the media 'because it would be bad publicity,' as we frequently release stories when law enforcement feels the public could assist," Trost said. "The claim we are lackadaisical in following up with allegations of crime in the system is wrong in the strongest of terms."

    The lawsuit comes as BART announced ridership is down and fares may have to be increased.

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