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Family of Oakland Stabbing Victim Nia Wilson Plans to Sue BART

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 07, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Bay Area Rapid Transit, known as BART, has come under intense scrutiny over the last decade due to increasing crime as well as the failures of the transit system's own police force.

Most recently, in late July, 18-year old Nia Wilson was stabbed to death, while standing on a BART platform with her sister, just waiting for a train. Though the assailant was caught the next day thanks to security camera footage, and is being prosecuted, the family is planning a lawsuit against BART due to Nia's murder.

Liability for Passenger on Passenger Violence

It has been reported that the assailant allegedly "jumped" the turnstile, or was otherwise in the station illegally. It is expected that the lawsuit against BART will allege negligence related to the train system's duty to keep passengers safe from other passengers who may become violent. Notably, while jumping a turnstile may not be a violent act, not stopping and removing the assailant will likely be alleged as a dereliction of the duty to keep passengers safe from other passengers.

One of the bigger issues in the case is expected to be race. Because the assailant is a white man, the argument that BART police would have been dispatched to remove the assailant had he not been white, will potentially be made. After all, BART has a really bad history with the issue of race, which has been in the public spotlight since the New Year's Day killing of Oscar Grant, an unarmed, 22-year old black man who was shot in the back by a BART police officer while he was in custody, cuffed, and face down on the ground, in 2009.

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