Robert Handa

Six Alleged Victims of BART Attacks Set to Sue Agency

Six alleged victims of mob attacks at BART stations are now combining their anger into a single lawsuit against BART.

One of the alleged victims, Rusty Stapp, along with his family, filed a $3 million lawsuit against BART in May after Stapp was reportedly beaten.

On Thursday, Stapp said he is joining with other alleged victims to make BART take responsibility and action to protect riders.

"I think we're all lucky that we haven't had a worse issue so far," said Stapp, who added that he's still recovering physically and emotionally from a severe beating by a mob on April 22 at the Oakland Coliseum BART station.

With his attorney, Paul Justi, Stapp has joined five other alleged victims with similar stories. The plaintiffs are suing for damages and want BART to increase security as well as release surveillance video to help catch suspects.

"We're hearing about people brandishing guns," Stapp said. "God forbid one of those people decides to use one; we're going to have a death on our hands."

Tim Howk said he was attacked and robbed by a mob four days before Stapp. He said the pattern shows the crimes were predictable and preventable.

"I'm not a police officer. I'm just a passenger,' Hawk said. "But it seems to me that they knew those incidents were taking place on the same train at the same station."

BART's attorney, Dale Allen, points out that the agency deals with 400,000 passengers a day at 46 stations. He emphasized that it's "impossible" to prevent all crimes, which is why, he said, police agencies generally have immunity to these types of lawsuits.

Allen also claimed BART officers responded within 3-to-5 minutes after being notified of each incident.

The attorney for the alleged victims said BART will actually be served with the lawsuit Friday.

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