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Nia Wilson’s Family Files Wrongful Death Suit Against Transit Agency

Wilson was fatally stabbed by a fare evader in 2018.

Nia Wilson, Oakland

The family of Nia Wilson, an 18-year-old Bay Area Black woman fatally stabbed at an Oakland, California Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station last year, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the transit agency, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The suit was filed on Friday and claims Wilson’s alleged killer, John Lee Cowell, was a serial fare evader and should have never gained entry onto the transit system.

“Plaintiffs contend that had BART taken adequate measures to prevent fare evaders from entering BART’s stations, platforms or trains, Nia Wilson would not have died,” the suit says.

Wilson was fatally wounded on July 22, while boarding a train car with her sisters Letifah and Tashiya Wilson. Cowell, 28, slashed Nia across the neck and she bled out on the train platform. Letifah, who was stabbed in her neck, survived the incident and was treated at a local hospital for her injuries.

Robert Arns and Jonathan Davis, the family’s attorney’s, released a regarding the suit. “This lawsuit is part of Nia Wilson’s family’s commitment to hold BART accountable for cleaning up its system,” the statement said. “No one else should have to suffer because of BART’s failure to protect its riders.”

BART spokesman James K. Allison told the San Francisco Chronicle that agency officials “continue to express our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Nia Wilson. However, we do not comment on potential or pending litigation.”

The family is seeking an undisclosed monetary amount along with a judge’s order to “compel system wide safety measures that BART has embraced sporadically and in select locations.” They’re also requesting the implementation of “Nia Wilson Crime Statistics Notice,” which would display crime metrics for the last four years at each specific station.

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