OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that his justice department will be conducting an independent review of the shooting death of Sean Monterrosa to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
The announcement comes after the Solano County District Attorney declined to conduct a review of the Vallejo Police Department’s investigation of the incident.
“Without accountability, there is no justice,” said Bonta. “It’s past time Sean Monterrosa’s family, the community, and the people of Vallejo get some answers. They deserve to know where the case stands. Instead, they’ve been met with silence. It’s time for that to change; it’s time for action. Seeing the failure of the District Attorney to fulfill this important responsibility, my office will review the case to ensure a fair, thorough, and transparent process is completed. This is the right thing to do and I will go where the facts lead. Rebuilding trust in our institutions starts with the actions of each and every one of us. If there has been wrongdoing, we will bring it to light.”
Historically, officer-involved shootings in California have been primarily handled by the state’s 58 district attorneys in the jurisdictions where the incidents occur.
“I’ve been calling for an independent investigation of this tragic case since the beginning, and I am glad Attorney General Bonta has taken this necessary step,” said California Sen. Bill Dodd, who represents the 3rd Senate District. “It’s crucial that we have a thorough and impartial review of the facts and get accountability for any wrongdoing.”
On June 2, 2020, police responded to Walgreens on the 1000 block of Redwood Street in Vallejo at 12:30 a.m. following reports of possible looting. When they arrived — two cars took off, one of the vehicles striking a police cruiser.
Video later released showed Jarett Tonn had fired five shots through the windshield of an unmarked vehicle, striking Monterrosa and killing him.
Tonn shot Monterrosa after mistaking a hammer in his pocket for a gun, Vallejo police chief Shawny Williams said.
Monterrosa was on his knees with his hands raised when he was killed.
Civil rights attorney John Burris, who is representing the Monterrosa family in a wrongful death suit stated, “I am thankful Attorney General Rob Bonta is taking over the review into the Vallejo police shooting of Sean Monterrosa. The Vallejo police command staff knew or should have known that this was Tonn’s fourth shooting in five years and by failing to discipline officers for misconduct, Vallejo’s police command staff essentially ratified the bad conduct.”
The incident raised even more controversy after the City of Vallejo announced it was seeking a criminal investigation into its police department for destruction of evidence in the case.
The windshield of the Vallejo police car involved in the shooting death of Monterrosa was destroyed, officials announced on July 15. The vehicle was then placed back into service without prior consultation with the Police Chief or City Attorney’s Office.
The shooting has now gained nationwide attention.
On July 17, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Vallejo city officials in calling for a FBI investigation into the police killing.
She called the shooting a “horrible act of brutality that continues to shake our Bay Area community.”
The actions announced today are separate from the California Department of Justice’s ongoing civil review of the Vallejo Police Department’s policies and practices.