An arbitrator has ruled that BART must reinstate Officer MarySol Domenici, who was fired for her role in a 2009 incident at the Fruitvale station in Oakland that led to the shooting death of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III.
The transit agency issued a statement saying, “BART must abide by today’s labor arbitrator ruling to reinstate Officer Marysol Domenici. Under the union contract, an arbitrator has the final say in this case.”
However, the agency said, “BART believes we did the right thing in acting on the independent internal affairs investigation’s recommendation to terminate her employment. The arbitrator made a different decision and it is now out of our hands.”
Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man, was fatally shot on Jan. 1, 2009 by former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle after he and other officers, including Domenici, responded to reports of a fight on a train.
Mehserle admitted he shot and killed Grant but claimed that it was an accident because he had meant to fire his Taser stun gun but fired his gun instead.
Mehserle was charged with murder but was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter and is currently serving a two-year state prison sentence.
Domenici was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident and was fired in March.
BART said it fired Domenici “for being untruthful in both her statements to BART police investigators and in her testimony at the preliminary hearing” for Mehserle last year.
The transit agency said the independent investigation into Grant’s death did not charge Domenici with any allegations involving use of force.
Domenici’s lawyer, Alison Berry Wilkinson, was not immediately available for comment today.
BART said the arbitrator’s decision requires Domenici to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation prior to her return to work.
The transit agency said once Domenici returns to duty, she will be given her patrol assignment under the process governed by the union contract. That process allows officers to select their work location and shift by seniority.
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News