Friday, March 26, 2010

Fired For Sort Of Doing Her Job

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District has fired a police officer of color for sort of doing her job. Sort of. Marysol Domenici was one of the BART police officers who responed to a gang fight on a BART train early morning New Years Day. The officers were outnumbered by a hostile crowd of hooligans and gangbangers who had taken over a BART train and were fighting. During the near riot a thug, Oscar Grant, was accidently shot by an officer. The video clearly shows that the officer though he was using his Tazer to subdue the resisting Grant, but he drew and fired his pistol instead. A tragic accident, where the trajedy is the character of Grant, who thought that fighting on trains and resisting the police were acceptable behavior. Well, he paid the price for the thug life.

The reason for Domenici's termination are not clearly known, as BART refuses to release the details for the firing, except that the black law firm they hired to do their internal investigation recommended termination. Meyers Nave specializes in attacking white police officers and is used by many governmental organizations who refuse to conduct their own investigations as they are required to do by law. Usually in a high profile case or in a case involving a shooting, a local agency uses the internal affairs unit of another agency, the county sheriff's office homicide unit, or the FBI to conduct the investigation. In this case neither the FBI or the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division thought there was an issue. It was clearly a mistake. But for the record if the BART PD's Internal Affairs Unit could not handle it, the investigation should have been turned over to another law enforcement agency, not a law firm with an agenda.

But in this case, as I pointed out, this part of the Grant case revolves around unqualified women on the department, rather than any misconduct by police officers. Domenici is a petite woman who is unable to hold her own in a situation that requires subdueing suspects larger than herself. She is obviously unable to make an arrest of someone who is resisting and cannot even hold her own defending herself. She needed other officers to protect herself. She was useless in this violent and fast moving mini-riot. Watch the videos and her fear is readily apparent. Had there been a qualified male officer there, most likely Grant and the other thugs would have been most likely quickly subdued. But BART has to hire females and they just don't work out well on the street in real-life situations.

But that is not why she is being fired, she is being fired for trying to do the job she was not qualified for, arresting rioting thugs on BART trains. They claim she exaggerated the danger of the situation, but for a petite woman like her, the danger was palpable and had there not been male officers there to protect her, rather than assist in subdueing Grant, she would have been likely injured severely or killed. You can't do policing on the cheap, you have to pay for the right kind and the right number of officers. Or just go back to the 50s and allow cops to administer justice on the street so as to discourage criminal behavior. We had alot fewer cops then, but alot less crime. Think about it.

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