Two Men Detained After Dispute During March Remembering BART Stabbing Victim

A crowd of more than 1,000 people eventually walked from the BART station at 550 40th Street in Oakland to the Make Westing bar in downtown Oakland to then deter the alleged alt-right "Proud Boys" group

Pax East 2018
Rob Michaelson

Two men were detained during a dispute that erupted between a group of people during a march Monday evening following the random, fatal stabbing death of 18-year-old Nia Wilson as she walked off a train at the MacArthur BART station on Sunday night, according to Oakland police.

The march started as a gathering in memory of Wilson at the BART station around 4 p.m.

A crowd of more than 1,000 people eventually walked from the BART station at 550 40th Street in Oakland to the Make Westing bar in downtown Oakland to then deter the alleged alt-right "Proud Boys" group from promoting its message at the bar and to demand justice for Wilson.

Sometime during the march, the dispute erupted in the downtown area and police detained the two men, who were later released. As they were being taken into custody, police said the crowd became disruptive and also tossed M80s, although police didn't say whether they threw them at officers.

John Lee Cowell, 27, who allegedly stabbed Wilson, was at large until he was arrested Monday at the Pleasant Hill BART station. Cowell also allegedly stabbed one of Wilson's sisters. BART police have not ruled out that the slaying was racially motivated because Wilson was black and Cowell is white.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a statement following the arrest and march.

"I am relieved to learn that the suspect was apprehended after an anonymous tip from a BART rider led to the arrest of the suspect," Schaaf said in a statement. "May this serve as the first step in bringing justice for the Wilson family, and healing to our community."

Schaaf also praised the bar that declined to host the white supremacists.

"I appreciate the commitment of these establishments to prohibit such activity in their business and then decided to hold a "Pro Oakland Movement" event this evening to support organizations that fight bigotry and discrimination on behalf of our community and values. Oakland has no room for hate or white supremacy."

The group of marchers also called for the community to value black lives and for people to come together as a community in the wake of the tragedy.

One of the marchers, Cat Brooks, who's running for mayor of Oakland, said the group left the BART station at about 6 p.m. Monday and walked peacefully to the bar at 18th and Telegraph to deter the Proud Boys.

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