MacArthur BART murder suspect

BART Police/Officer Body Camera

Murder Victim Nia Wilson's Family Announces Plans To Sue BART

KCBS Radio Morning News
August 02, 2018 - 9:51 am

OAKLAND (KCBS Radio) - The family of Nia Wilson, who was fatally stabbed at a BART station, announced plans to sue the transit system and made demands for more protection for riders. 

The family's attorney Robert Arns said they're demanding better staffing at the turnstiles to help catch fare evaders in the act and ban them from the system. They also want accurate, system-wide and station-specific crime logs, and more officers on patrol. They're seeking monetary damages as well.

The suspect in the Wilson's murder at the MacArthur station, John Lee Cowell, had been busted for fare evasion less than a week before police say he slayed  Wilson and wounded her sister Lahtifa Wilson last month. 

BART board member Robert Raburn pointed out that the suspect was caught thanks to clear photos from police body cams taken when Cowell was stopped for fare evasion.

"The officers have learned that this is a tool for them, and the suspects know they're on film," Raburn said. "Six months ago, we wouldn't even have had that image of this suspect." 

Wilson's family has said that after the fare evasion bust, Cowell shouldn't have even been allowed to be on the trains.

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas insisted the department is doing what it can to keep riders safe. "We're working our hardest to make sure we make improvements on the system," he said.

According to BART,  there are working cameras now on trains, and crime statistics are published though various venues. The transit system has been short-staffed on police officers for years. They're using overtime currently to beef up system patrols. 

Reported by Holly Quan

Written by Diana Shook