Richmond's mayor wants answers after assault outside BART station

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Richmond's mayor is demanding answers after he witnessed a group of teenagers beat up a man outside the Richmond BART station on Thursday morning. BART police conducted the preliminary investigation, but say it's in the Richmond Police Department's jurisdiction and that RPD will take over.

Mayor Tom Butt took a picture of a man he says was bleeding profusely from his head after a group of teenagers attacked him outside the BART station.

"As I got closer, I saw a woman there screaming at them, you know, 'stop, stop, get out of here, get out of here,'" said the mayor.

Butt says he called 911, then an operator told him it was a BART problem, so he says he talked to BART dispatch. He says there were no BART police officers on the scene and that two workers in a BART vehicle did nothing.

"I was astounded that they didn't try to get out and do something to help," said Butt.

"From my understanding the employees were maintenance workers so they had no law enforcement training. What we'd ask them to do is be a good witness," said BART Police Deputy Chief Lance Haight.

Butt adds, "Everybody has a primary job but their secondary job ought to be whatever needs to be done at the time to make the system work."

BART police began the preliminary investigation and say the victim was not robbed. Investigators now say because he was attacked outside the station, Richmond police will take over. Still, given the proximity to the BART station, witnesses want to know where BART police officers were when it happened.

"They're not much help, that's what I think, cause it's like as much stuff that goes on around here they're never here when something is going on, they're always here afterwards," said witness Antarra Robinson.

Haight says each BART police officer is assigned a beat that includes two to three stations.

"Our officers are out in their cars, in the stations, on the trains, but there's no way we can guarantee that every passenger who rides BART is going to see a police officer during their trip," he said.
Butt says he didn't even see a station agent Thursday morning, but the deputy chief says there was one there.

"We got a problem and I'd like to find out how it's going to get fixed," said Butt.

The deputy chief says BART police have created a multi-agency task force and that they're doing all they can to be both proactive and reactive.

If you see a crime at a BART Station, you can call 510-464-7000 to be connected directly to dispatch.

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