After DART attack, victim says more safety precautions needed

Brothers arrested in DART train attack

DALLAS - Six days after he was brutally attacked by a mob on a DART train, Kennan Jones' black eye is fading, .

The vicious beating was captured on cellphone video by a fellow passenger.

“My knee and my rib cage is hurting a lot, but I'm getting better," said the soft-spoken 44-year-old. "I'm healing."

He's relieved knowing two of his accused attackers -- brothers Jakobi and Remon Hendrix -- have been arrested. Jakobi Hendrix, 21, faces a charge of aggravated assault, a second degree felony. Remon Hendrix, 23, is charged with Class A misdemeanor assault.

Other arrests are expected soon.

The events began about 8:30 p.m. Sunday when a group of young riders boarded the train in downtown and began to smoke weed. Jones asked them to stop. A woman got in his face and spit at him.

Several men began pushing him, punching and kicking him, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The brawl spilled out onto the train platform when the doors opened at the Deep Ellum station. His attackers – two of them wearing orange Whataburger shirts -- kept hitting him. The video shows one of them hit him with a skateboard. The attackers then all got back on the train and left.

Police identified the Hendrix brothers through a tip. A Whataburger manager confirmed they worked there, court documents say.

When a detective interviewed Jakobi Hendrix, he said they were going to work at Whataburger and noticed a commotion when the train arrived at the Deep Ellum station.

He said that his brother began fighting Jones so he jumped in to protect him. He acknowledged hitting Jones with a skateboard, court records say.

Neighbors at the run-down South Dallas complex where the brothers live were surprised to hear of the about the brothers’ arrests. They said the siblings lived with their father. Neither have serious criminal histories.

“I don't know what transpired but what I saw was sad,” neighbor Anthony Osborne said. “The two I know, that's not their character.”

He described the teens as respectful and saying “yes, sir” and “yes, ma'am” to him and his wife.

Family members were home but wouldn’t answer the door.

It was the second high-profile attack on a DART train rider since June. After that attack, DART promised to beef up security.

Jones questions why the DART train did not have cameras.

“Put some cameras on these trains and protect people's lives,” he said. “There's people dying and people getting hurt. It's a real life issue.”

DART’s 600 buses already have cameras. The transit agency upgraded its bus fleet with cameras when it switched from diesel to natural gas buses.

Currently, only four of its light rail trains have them. The plan is to equip 48 trains with security cameras by April. Another 118 trains are slated to have cameras installed within 18 to 24 months, said DART spokesman Mark Ball.

Emmanuel Obi, an attorney representing Jones, said DART needs to move swiftly to make its trains safer for its riders.

“Enough people have suffered from situations that were preventable,” he said. “Enough people have been denied the appropriate level of response.”

Obi questions why the driver didn’t notice anything once the melee spilled out onto the platform.

Ball, the DART spokesman, said there are mirrors, but it’s difficult to see the last car on a two-car train.

“An operator’s initial emphasis is the train, not the platform,” he said. “They are focused to hit their mark on the track while watching for cars, trespassers, looking at their console to make sure all the doors open.”

He said recommends that riders push the red button on the train to communicate with the driver.

“That’s why we ask the public for their help,” he said.

Jones rides the trains almost daily. He doesn’t have a car.

When he got on the train after the attack, he said he saw someone with a skateboard and it caused him to have a flashback to that night.

“The way I feel about this train riding is totally different now,” he said. “We’re paying money for a service and part of that service is protection.”

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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