Attorneys for the victims who were attacked on the Miami MetroMover this month said Wednesday they intend to file lawsuits as the county vowed to beef up security for the mass transit system.
Andrea Puerta, 29, was on the MetroMover Sept. 4 when 25-year-old Joshua James King allegedly repeatedly punched her, and at one point, threw her against the side of the car, police said. The attack was caught on surveillance cameras.
Puerta's attorneys Wednesday that they intend to seek justice against the alleged assailant, Miami-Dade County's transit system and the contracted security company, Allied Universal.
“What is going on with respect to security?” said Puerta's attorney, Curt D. Obront. “Those are the questions we want answered.”
King faces battery and aggravated battery charges and was released on bond. Puerta's attorneys are also demanding for his charges to be upgraded.
“As an attorney in South Florida for the past 36 years, I am outraged and saddened to see such senseless violence happen in our city, especially on a public transportation system that is supposed to be safe," Obront said earlier Wednesday in a written statement. “I am shocked that this person was allowed to be released on such low bond and continues to roam the streets of our city, notably after attacking two more innocent victims shortly after attacking my client."
Weeks later, Puerta said still feels pain throughout her body.
“I had a head concussion, my rib is broken,” Puerta said. “I was not able to open my mouth very well for the first week. My back so hurt much."
The attorney of 73-year-old Eduardo Fernandez said they also intend to file suit against Allied Universal. Fernandez was badly beaten in an unprovoked attack Sunday while he was the MetroMover to go to work.
“You’re now on notice that there’s crimes that are happening on your public transportation for our citizens,” attorney Alan Goldfarb said.
Fernandez was left with two fractured bones in his skull, damage to an eye socket, a jaw fracture, and other injuries. Robert Lee Ribbs, 62, was arrested and faces charges including aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, battery on a person 65 or older and strongarm robbery.
NBC 6 reached out to Allied Universal for a statement but haven’t gotten a response.
A spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation didn’t comment on the upcoming lawsuits, but the department on Monday said in a statement that they were working with Miami-Dade police and Allied to "make sure all necessary measures are taken to help safeguard Miami-Dade Transit riders throughout the system."
On Monday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the county would increase the number of stationary and roving security guards.