UNITED STATES NEWS

California’s top prosecutor won’t seek charges in 2020 fatal police shooting of Bay Area man

Dec 19, 2023, 6:54 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s attorney general will not seek criminal charges against a police officer who in 2020 fatally shot a man outside a pharmacy in the San Francisco Bay Area amid national protests over the police killing of George Floyd, his office announced Tuesday.

A Vallejo police officer fatally shot 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa on Jun 2, 2020, after responding to reports of suspects stealing from a pharmacy as peaceful protests and civil unrest swept across the country following Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta found there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jarrett Tonn, who was a detective with the Vallejo Police Department at the time of the shooting, did not act in self-defense or in defense of his partner officers.

“Sean Monterrosa’s life mattered and there is nothing that can make up for his death. His loss is and will continue to be felt by his family and the Bay Area community,” Bonta said in a statement.

“My office remains committed to doing everything in our power to prevent these kinds of incidents from occurring and putting forward policy solutions to help ensure law enforcement are responsive to the needs of their communities,” he added.

Tonn fired a rifle five times through the windshield of his patrol pickup, hitting a kneeling Monterrosa once in the head. Police said they initially thought Monterrosa was carrying a handgun in his waistband. But they found a hammer in the pocket of a sweatshirt he was wearing.

Video released by the Vallejo Police Department a month after the shooting shows Tonn firing from the backseat of the moving vehicle that was carrying two other officers.

The windshield of the patrol pickup truck, considered a key piece of evidence in the case, was destroyed, leading city officials to seek a criminal investigation into how that happened. Bonta took the case in 2021 after Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams recused herself.

Bonta found there was no destruction of evidence by the Vallejo Police Department and said that the officers who replaced the windshield were not involved in the shooting.

“The officers did not act with a criminal intent to suppress or destroy evidence when they had the windshield replaced and returned the vehicle to service,” he said.

Tonn was terminated last year after an independent third-party investigation determined he violated several department policies, including using deadly force that was not objectively reasonable, failing to de-escalate the situation, and failing to activate his body-worn camera in a timely manner.

The Vallejo Police Department has come under repeated criticism in other cases as well.

The month after Monterrosa’s killing, then-Police Chief Shawny Williams started an independent investigation after two people in the department said officers had their badges bent to mark on-duty killings.

The department has had several other controversial slayings by police, including that of Willie McCoy, 20, of Suisun City, in February 2019. McCoy was killed after he fell asleep with a gun in his lap in his car at a Taco Bell drive-thru. Six Vallejo officers fired 55 shots.

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California’s top prosecutor won’t seek charges in 2020 fatal police shooting of Bay Area man