By Kennedy Calise
Nia Wilson was a graduate of Oakland High School. She had great dreams of being a paramedic and placing a career in criminal justice. She also loved music, often creating rap videos to post on YouTube. On July 22nd, 2018, Nia Wilson had her throat slit on Oakland MacArthur’s station platform. She was with her two other sisters, Latifa and Tashiya Wilson.
The reported killer, John Lee Cowell, has been caught at Pleasant Hill BART on and taken into custody by the help of an anonymous rider. Cowell was a homeless man who just finished from his jail sentence. He was arrested on July 25, 2018. Since the tragedy, concerns and conversations have been not only about BART’s security but especially if the murder was racially motivated. In the East Bay Area, police shootings and hate crimes are not new.
Five days before Nia’s death, two other people have also received unrelated attacks on the Bay Area’s Transit, although the station did not take these attacks into serious consideration. Statistics from the San Francisco Chronicle report, “The state statistics show that BART recorded 428 violent crimes in 2017 — 293 robberies, 130 assaults, five rapes and no homicides. In 2007, there were 254 violent crimes on BART trains and at stations.” Debora Allen, BART board director responded saying “We’re not doing enough to let the public know these people are committing these crimes,” said BART board director Debora Allen. “I have long thought for a year now that there has been some inconsistency in the way information and photos of people of interest of have been released.” Wilson’s relatives are now suing BART for their lack of security.
Later, BART urged their riders to report disturbing behavior immediately on stations by calling 911 or their payphone number. The station is still looking to find ways to an expensive process to upgrade security.
After her death, An abundance of people surrounded Macarthur BART station for mourning and awareness. People decorated her memorial with posters, candles, flowers and artwork of her. Leaving the BART station, according to East Bay Express, “over 1,000 people marched south on Telegraph Avenue past new mid-rise apartment buildings that are rapidly changing the city’s landscape,” while making a moving process to safe transportation.