On Saturday, the Vallejo City Attorney’s Office sent out a news release saying it has filed three motions in the Sean Monterrosa case including a change of venue, a protective order and dismissal of certain claims.
On June 2 of this year, the 22-year-old Monterrosa was shot by Vallejo Police Officer Jarrett Tonn in front of a Walgreens while Vallejo was under curfew in response to looting. At the time of the shooting, Tonn said he believed a hammer in Monterrosa’s pocket was a gun. Body cam footage, released the next month, did not show Monterrosa at the time of the shooting or moments previous to the shooting.
Last month, the City of Vallejo was served with a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Monterrosa’s family in the Eastern District filed by the Law Offices of John Burris.
The City of Vallejo stated that it seeks to ensure a fair trial and judicial process for both the City and the Monterrosa family.
“When a jury pool has been biased, neither the City nor the Monterrosa family can have a fair trial,” the news release said. “Given the many sensationalized and false statements by Plaintiffs’ attorney, neither the Monterrosa family nor the City will be given a fair trial by an unbiased jury in the Bay Area or Sacramento. For this reason, the City is seeking a change in venue to Fresno.”
The second motion seeks a protective order intended to prevent the plaintiff’s attorneys from continuing to try this case in the media. Fairness and justice for both the City and the Monterrosa family require that they receive a fair trial in a courtroom before an unbiased jury, the release stated.
The third motion seeks dismissal. Certain allegations in the complaint do not give rise to a violation of the law.
After the Monterrosa shooting, the VPD came under more scrutiny due to evidence being destroyed, including the windshield of the vehicle involved in the incident. More turmoil for VPD came when Open Vallejo released a story in late July claiming VPD officers over the years had bent the points of their badges each time they had had a kill in the line of duty.
Soon after the Monterrosa shooting, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi publicly called for the FBI to investigate the shooting.
“The police killing of Sean Monterrosa was a horrible act of brutality that continues to shake our Bay Area community,” Pelosi said in July. “Recent reports that key evidence in the investigation was destroyed are deeply disturbing and highlight the urgency and necessity of an outside, independent federal investigation. I join Sean’s family, Vallejo city officials and community members in calling for an FBI investigation into Sean’s murder, including into the destruction of essential evidence in this homicide case.”
In the news release it states that “The City of Vallejo continues to express condolences to the family of Sean Monterrosa for their tragic loss. The City is committed to ensuring a fair trial and allowing the judicial process to fairly play out for the benefit of both the family and the City.”
In the past months many protests and marches have been held in Vallejo, San Francisco and other cities in the Bay Area to support Monterrosa.
Two billboards have recently been put up in Vallejo calling for “Justice for Sean Monterrosa” with one of them being in close proximity to the Vallejo Police Department on Amador Street. The other sign is on Sonoma Boulevard and Virginia Street.
“Best believe Vallejo PD will know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure our family is the last one in Vallejo to see their loved ones murdered on the hands of police,” Sean’s sister, Michelle Monterrosa said at a recent march. “We will do everything in our power to make sure of that and not see these children growing up in this environment anymore.”