On the night of Monday, May 19, two transgender women stood on the train platform at MARTA’s Five Points Station in downtown Atlanta. Awaiting the train, the pair was allegedly mocked, photographed, and heckled by two men. The men relentlessly ridiculed the women, sneering and demanding to know if they were “real”. Though the women repeatedly asked their taunters to leave them alone, their requests were ignored.
Boarding the train, the verbal exchange quickly escalated, becoming physical when one of the harassers suddenly kicked one of the females. A brawl immediately ensued. Onlookers merely stood by. None of the train’s passengers reported the incident or tried to intervene. When it ended, one woman was left completely naked and on the floor. The horrifying display of violence had been recorded and posted online. It has since gone viral.
MARTA police arrested the two male suspects for disorderly conduct and are leading further investigations into the situation. The location of the attack alone could serve to elevate their charges to a misdemeanor of “high and aggravated nature” or felony of aggravated assault and battery, but unless statements are made or victims press charges, the perpetrators can only be held for lesser offenses. Humiliated and dishonored, both victims have since left town.
Rights of Passengers
All property owners—including MARTA representatives—are lawfully required to ensure that property is safe for riders. In fact, because they are operated by a government entity, MARTA carriers are obligated to “use extraordinary diligence to protect the lives and persons of its passengers” (O.C.G.A. § 46-9-132). Public transportation is deemed a protected space, and it is their duty to provide for the security, safety, and health of riders. MARTA failed its mission to safeguard the only entity that it serves.
“Ride with Respect” is a phrase you can spot scrolling on any MARTA bus’ LCD display. Regrettably, no respect was served on that infamous train ride. While it is impossible to fully protect passengers from all acts of others, MARTA’s recent boasting of a heavy police presence, new security cameras, and mobile app didn’t seem to make a difference.Does it hurt to mention that one of the accused men has previously been arrested, on MARTA, for another count of battery?It’s troubling to think about what could have happened if someone had been carrying a weapon, as there are state laws that allow carrying concealed weapons onto public transportation.
Filing a Claim
In this specific situation, both victims may have gone on to file personal injury claims against their two male attackers and/or a claim against MARTA.
Have you or a family member been a victim to violent crime on public property? These experiences can be especially traumatic, and you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. Choose a firm that knows how to navigate the complexities and win these kinds of cases. McAleer Law has the experience and resources necessary to put in the hard work, time, and effort that bring positive results to your case. Contact McAleer Law at (404) 622-5337 to discuss your legal options.