BART station agent punched in face at MacArthur station in Oakland

Monday, September 3, 2018
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OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- There's concern not only about the safety of BART riders, but also the agents who work at stations after an agent was sucker punched late Friday night at MacArthur station.

The same agent happened to be on duty when Nia Wilson was stabbed to death in late July during a random attack at the station, and now he himself became a victim.

"Well, it was an unprovoked attack," said Gena Alexander, president of Amalgamated Transit Union 1555, the local union the represents station agents.

Alexander says the BART employee was hit in the face by a man who was harassing two female passengers.

"While he was in the process of looking for the suspect that was harassing them the suspect blindsided him and hit him, caused some damage," said Alexander.

RELATED: BART stabbing victim recalls horrific attack, loss of sister

The suspect took off and at this point, BART is unable to provide any video or image of him. The station agent, meanwhile, is recovering from cuts to his face. For BART riders, this latest incident is compounding anxiety about safety on the transit system in general. In addition to violent episodes, concerns are ongoing about open drug use, fare evasion and theft.

"Things aren't safe now and people feel that. You know, that's clear," said BART rider Cody Davis.

"I feel like this is getting out of control. It just keeps happening very often," said another BART rider Jonathan Granados.

BART Police ramped up patrols following the Nia Wilson stabbing. But what was once mandatory overtime is now voluntary -- and in recent days, there are currently at least half the number of officers on patrol. Not very reassuring for passengers and employees.

"Should agents be allowed to carry Mace? Should they be supplied Tasers? Do we go out and get self defense classes? Something has to happen," said Alexander.

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