California’s attorney general announced Thursday that his office will conduct an independent review of an officer-involved shooting that left a 22-year-old San Francisco man dead last year to determine whether charges are warranted.
Sean Monterrosa was killed June 2, 2020 by a Vallejo police officer responding to a Walgreens amid reports of looting. The officer, Jarrett Tonn, said he mistook a hammer on Monterrosa’s waist for a gun and shot him several times.
“Without accountability, there is no justice,” said state Attorney General Rob 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.”
John Burris, who represents the Monterrosa family, praised Bonta’s announcement.
“I am thankful Attorney General Rob Bonta is taking over the review into the Vallejo police shooting of Sean Monterrosa,” he in a statement issued to Fox News. “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.”
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In a separate review, Bonta’s office is looking into the Vallejo Police Department’s policies and practices.
Local authorities completed their investigation into the Monterrosa shooting in March. The findings were presented to Solano District Attorney Krishna Abrams, Bonta’s office said.
“Subsequently, the District Attorney, without invitation or notice, attempted to deliver the investigative file to the California Department of Justice,” his office said. “In effect, the District Attorney demanded that the Department assume the responsibilities she was elected to carry out, despite the fact that no known circumstances prevented her from discharging her duties.”
Bonta said Abrams abdicated her responsibility and refused to review the Vallejo Police Department investigation of the incident.
“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,” he said.
The shooting occurred days after George Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody, setting off a wave of protests and riots across the country over race and policing, and the August 2019 Vallejo police shooting of Willie McCoy.
In July 2020, Abrams said she was recusing her office from reviewing the shooting.
“The current circumstances compel an outside review to not only restore public trust, preserve the safety of our community but also provide confidence in the outcome,” she said.
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Fox News has reached out to the district attorney’s office and the city.
The Monterrosa family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and Tonn. The lawsuit accuses the police department of tampering with evidence and not reprimanding Tonn over other shootings he was involved with.
Bonta said California’s 58 district attorneys are responsible for handling officer-involved shootings. As the result of Assembly Bill 1506, which goes into effect July 1, the state Department of Justice will have the ability to take over investigations of officer-involved shootings.