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Oakland Cops Get Unlikely Assignment

Oakland Cops Get Unlikely Assignment

Published June 11, 2009

The two Oakland, Calif., transit cops who were on the platform when Oscar Grant was killed have been awarded jobs training their fellow officers how to handle suspects.

Marysol Domenici and Jon Woffinden, both of whom have been on leave and under investigation for their roles in the shooting, are newly appointed defensive tactical instructors for the Bay Area Transit Authority. In short, they have been given responsibility to teach the very issue they are being investigated for – apprehending suspects.

"Do I have a problem with it? I surely do," BART board member Lynette Sweet told ABC7 News. "What this does is send a message to the public that yeah, you guys are coming and showing up at these meetings, but is BART taking a cavalier attitude and almost an uncaring attitude by allowing some of these officers to test up? I have a problem with it personally as a director. It may not be illegal to allow them to do it, but common sense ought to tell a good manager that it's not the right thing to do."

John Burris, the attorney representing the family of the deceased, agreed.

"Based upon what was observed by them on the videotapes and what they testified to, it's quite surprising that BART would take this position," he said.

The two officers were chosen from 14 of their colleagues who were vying for the position, according to BART Chief Gary Gee.

An attorney for Woffinden and Domenici said that despite the criticism, his clients are entitled to the presumption of innocence. After all, he noted, there have been no allegations brought against them.

Although a pay hike and title change does not accompany the new assignment, it cannot be approved until the internal affairs division of the force has completed its investigation.

The officer who actually shot Grant is Johannes Mesherle. He has been fired and is battling murder charges.

Written by BET.com Staff

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