Rafu Wire Service and Staff Reports
LONG BEACH — Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is calling for a review of Metro protocols after a woman was attacked on a northbound A Line train last week.
The Long Beach Police Department reported, “On May 17, 2023, at approximately 5:38 p.m., officers responded to the Metro Rail-Compton Station regarding a battery incident which was reported to have occurred on the train between the Metro Rail-Pacific Coast Highway Station and Willow Station. Upon arrival, officers contacted a female adult victim with minor injuries to her upper body.
“The preliminary investigation indicates the victim was riding the train when a female adult suspect confronted her and hit her multiple times. When the victim left the train, a male adult suspect knocked her phone out from her hands. The suspects fled the scene before police arrived.
“The Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel provided medical aid and the victim declined transportation to a local hospital. Suspect information and the motive for the battery is under investigation. At this time, there is no information to indicate this is a hate or bias-motivated incident. The investigation is ongoing.”
Contrary to the police report, the 53-year-old victim, who is of Asian descent, told ABC7 News that the woman who attacked her used racial slurs.
The victim — who was interviewed on camera but kept her mask on and asked that her name not be made public — said, “I thought I was going to die.”
She added that she doesn’t take the train every day, but as a result of the attack she might never ride on Metro again.
A sharp uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes has been reported nationwide since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hahn, who is also a Metro board member, said in a statement, “We have multi-million-dollar law enforcement contracts, Metro security, and 300 Metro Ambassadors who have been hired to ride our buses and trains.
“But where were they when this woman was beaten up on the Blue Line last week? With this many layers of security, why didn’t anyone come to this woman’s aid? This is far from the first time there has been an attack on our trains in recent months. I will be asking for a full accounting of where our transit ambassadors, Metro security, and Long Beach Police officers assigned to Metro were at the time of this attack.
“Enough is enough. Our trains need to be safe for our residents.”
Hahn said she will ask Metro to explain the protocol of what happens if a rider needs to ask a train operator to stop the train and whether that protocol was followed in last week’s incident.
Metro has paid the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and the LBPD over $900 million since entering into a contract with the agencies in 2017 to provide public safety services along its bus and rail network.
An eyewitness on the train, Twila Mahone, told ABC7 that the victim was on the phone with police while trying to get the conductor to stop the train for 11 minutes.
“It was a brutal attack,” Mahone said. “A very, very brutal attack that should never happen.” According to Mahone, the train finally stopped at the Artesia station.
An LBPD spokesman confirmed that there was no officer on the train at the time.
Last month, a man was stabbed to death while riding the Metro in Long Beach after a fight broke out while the train was heading southbound.