VALLEJO, Calif. (KRON) — A Vallejo Police Department officer who killed Sean Monterrosa three years ago is getting his job back, according to attorneys.
Detective Jarrett Tonn fatally shot Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco, outside a Vallejo Walgreens store in early morning hours of June 2, 2020, following reports of possible looting. At the time Monterrosa was shot, there was civil unrest across the Bay Area in response to the death of George Floyd.
The Walgreens had been looted earlier that night. Police officers returned to the store less than two hours later to investigate additional looting when Tonn shot Monterrosa.
Tonn was terminated from the Vallejo Police Department until August 18, when his job was reinstated with full back pay, Tonn’s attorney, Joshua Olander, told KRON4. The reinstatement decision was issued following an evidentiary hearing.
Sean Monterrosa’s sisters will hold a news conference Thursday outside Vallejo City Hall to speak out against Tonn’s reinstatement on the police force.
The family’s attorney wrote, “He shot Sean Monterrosa in the back of the head. His behavior has fractured the Vallejo community and the decision to reinstate him is appalling. The Vallejo community can have no faith in Tonn as a community member, let alone as a law enforcement officer.”
Monterrosa had attended a George Floyd demonstration to protest police brutality shortly before he was shot by VPD, according to his family.
According to police, Tonn shot Monterrosa after mistaking a hammer in his pocket for a gun. Body camera video shows Tonn inside an unmarked police pickup truck with two additional detectives when he fired several shots through the windshield.
“What did he point at us?” one officer asked another immediately after the shooting.
“I don’t know, man,” another officer replied.
Tonn’s attorneys said Monterossa presented a “life-threatening danger. Detective Tonn’s use of deadly force was legally justified and his termination was not supported by the facts and the law. Detective Tonn’s use of force was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. Further, Mr. Monterossa’s actions immediately preceding the shooting were determined to be inconsistent with surrender or retreat.”
Vallejo’s former police chief, Shawny Williams, was motivated by heated politics during Tonn’s firing, Tonn’s attorneys said.
Olander wrote, “Detective Tonn and the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association are thankful for the due process rights in California, so that determinations are rendered based on the law and evidence, rather than political expediency.”
“Detective Tonn and the membership of the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association will continue to serve and protect the citizens of Vallejo,” Olander wrote.