On January 12th, a man was assaulted while riding a MARTA train, just before it arrived at the East Point station. Another passenger captured video footage of the attack, in which the assailant holds the victim at gunpoint while repeatedly hitting and kicking him.
The victim’s sister, who spoke to the press, only found out about the attack when someone tagged her on the video, which had been posted to Instagram. Although shaken up by what she saw, she says her brother is going to be okay, and that she’s grateful to MARTA police for responding quickly to the East Point station.
However, the MARTA police don’t seem to have played any actual role in ensuring that her brother will be okay. They failed to apprehend the assailant as he disembarked and ran away, and he remains unidentified.
This Isn’t the First Time MARTA Passengers Have Had to Turn to Instagram to Be Heard
Just five months before the East Point assault, another man was attacked on a MARTA train at the Georgia State station. No weapon was used in that incident, but the attacker cornered and beat the victim, who did not fight back. The attacker was evidently angry with the victim for panhandling, but regular commuters described the victim’s demeanor as kind, and the station’s panhandling problem as no excuse for violence.
This attack was also caught on video and posted to Instagram, and the MARTA police reportedly only began circulating flyers in search of the attacker after the video gained online attention. A suspect was eventually arrested in Alabama two months later.
MARTA Must Do a Better Job of Protecting Travelers
Though MARTA trains are equipped with panic buttons that can theoretically summon the MARTA police at a moment’s notice, passengers have long been complaining of ineffectiveness, unresponsiveness, and lack of transparency on the part of the MARTA police.
CBS46 has found significant discrepancies between the MARTA police’s internal crime reporting and the actual scope of the problem, and one woman sued MARTA in 2017 after being repeatedly promised police assistance at the next station, or the one after that, and never receiving it. The man she was reporting for sexual assault eventually left the train of his own accord.
Like any company or organization that controls spaces that are open to the public, MARTA has a legal responsibility to protect its guests from foreseeable dangers. Unfortunately, assaults on MARTA property are more than common enough to qualify as “foreseeable.” Passengers should not have to rely on bystanders’ cameras or media pressure to force MARTA police to track down their attackers. If MARTA can’t live up to the promise implied by its own security cameras and panic buttons, providing real-time protection when and where it’s needed, then it must at least take financial responsibility for the injuries passengers suffer as a result.
If you’ve been assaulted on MARTA property, The Stoddard Firm can help. Give us a call any time at 678-RESULT to discuss your case in a free consultation.