Exonerated men sue Oakland, police officer over witness bribery

Two men on Thursday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against an Oakland homicide detective and the City after they were exonerated of murder.

Cartier Hunter and Giovante Douglas were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2016 for the murder of a man after a traffic altercation in Oakland.

Years later, the chief witness in the case admitted that she was paid as much as $30,000 to lie on the witness stand at the urging of Oakland Police Homicide Det. Phong Tran.

"Two men who were robbed of close to a decade of their life, in the prime of their life, due to the unlawful illegal despicable and criminal conduct of an Oakland police officer," said their lawyer Adante Pointer.

Hunter and Douglas declined to speak on the steps of the same Alameda County courthouse where they were convicted.


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But emotions were clear on the Douglas's face as his lawyer described the decade-long ordeal suffered by the two men and their families.

"As you can see from Mr. Douglas, this is not just a lawsuit written on a piece of paper. This is his life. This is the proof, the evidence, the carnage, that Officer Tran caused these young men, to have to suffer, through the torture, of being criminally prosecuted, convicted, label a murderer, all supported by lies," said Pointer. 

Attorneys say along with compensation, they are hoping for systemic reform of the justice system.

Tran has been released on bail and remains on administrative leave from the Oakland Police Department

Tran pleaded not guilty in April to felony perjury, bribery of a witness, and other charges.

At least 125 other cases involving Tran are expected to be reviewed, according to the district attorney

Tran's preliminary hearing is on June 12.

KTVU political reporter Greg Lee contributed to this report.