RICHMOND, Calif. (Henry Lee/KTVU) - The mayor of Richmond witnessed an assault outside the BART station in his city and said he was dissatisfied by the response on several fronts.
In an interview with KTVU on Friday, Tom Butt said that he was at the BART station about 11:20 a.m. Thursday when he saw about a dozen teens punching and kicking a man to the ground. He said the teens were also taking video of the assault.
"They were all running back and forth, and they all had their cell phones out like this," Butt said, waving his arm back and forth. BART police responded to Butt's 911 call. By the time officers arrived, the teens had already left.
The victim was taken to a hospital. BART police are trying to pull video from the station and plan to forward the evidence they gather to Richmond police.
The mayor said he's not happy with the response to the assault. He said Richmond police 911 dispatchers first routed him to BART police, even though it was later determined that the attack on the plaza outside the BART station is in the city's jurisdiction. "It was pretty frustrating, and I think it exposed a lot of flaws in the emergency response," Butt said. The mayor said he was also concerned that a couple of people who appeared to be BART employees in a truck parked nearby didn't seem to be acting quickly enough, or at all, to respond to the situation.
"They were either watching the whole thing, or they were asleep, I don't know," Butt said.
Butt said he went down into the station and didn't see the agent at the booth. He says BART needs to step up patrols at the station.
"I would not want to be put in a serious security situation in that station, because there's nobody there," Butt said. "Nobody's going to help you."
But Lance Haight, a BART police deputy chief, said, "Generally speaking, BART is safe."
Haight said the agent in question was on duty at the time of the attack, but the agent's exact whereabouts weren't known. The deputy chief says BART police officers are responsible for two to three stations on their beats and often go from one call to the next.
"There's no way that we can guarantee that every passenger who rides BART is going to be able to see a police officer during their trip," Haight said.
And as for those BART workers sitting in the truck, Haight said, "From what I understand, those employees were maintenance workers, so they have no law enforcement training, so what we'd ask them to do is to be a good witness."
Just this week, BART released a troubling report on crime statistics.
As of mid-July, there has been a 41-percent increase in violent crimes, including a 49-percent increase in robberies, compared with the same time period last year. At the same time, property crimes are also up 14 percent.
Violent sex crimes are on the rise at BART, with a near doubling of rapes reported just in the first six months of this year, compared to all of last year, the agency reported.
There were seven rapes reported on BART property from January through the end of June, compared to four in 2016, three in 2015 and two in 2014, according to BART police. At the same time, there has been a notable increase in the number of reported sexual assaults, with 28 in the first six months of the year. That’s the same number of sexual assaults reported during all of 2016, which was already up 75 percent from 2015, when only 16 sexual assault cases were reported.
These statistics were released three months after a highly publicized cased on April 22 when up to 60 juveniles rushed a train at the Coliseum BART station, attacking and passengers on board. robbing passengers on board.
Mayor Butt witnessed assault at Richmond Transit Center took photos of vict and says BART employees in truck did nothing. He wants reforms. pic.twitter.com/fjnUS9qK7l— Christien Kafton (@CKaftonKTVU) July 21, 2017