Category Archives: Vallejo CA

Vallejo settlement in 2018 police shooting of Ronell Foster: $5.7 million

Family of man killed by Vallejo police to receive $5.7 million

San Francisco Chronicle, by Nora Mishanec, September 5, 2020
Ronell Foster (right), shown with his two chldren, was shot to death by a Vallejo police officer in February 2018.
Ronell Foster (right), shown with his two chldren, was shot to death by a Vallejo police officer in February 2018. Photo: SFChronicle, courtesy Foster family

Vallejo officials have agreed to pay $5.7 million to the family of Ronell Foster, who was shot and killed by a Vallejo police officer in February 2018.

The officer, Ryan McMahon, was cleared of wrongdoing in January by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, which declared McMahon’s deadly use of force justified after an investigation that included body camera footage.

But Foster’s family brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against McMahon and the city.

Vallejo officials announced the settlement Friday. The city itself will pay the Foster family only $500,000. The rest will be paid by the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities, a municipal insurance provider.

The Foster family is “happy the truth has finally come out,” Adanté Pointer, a lawyer for the family, said Friday.

“Ronell did not deserve to die,” Pointer said. “True justice would be to see Officer McMahon walking into court as a criminal defendant.

“What the family found most disturbing are the lies the city put out to justify his death when they knew the whole time Ronell’s death was not justified and the officer’s conduct flat-out wrong.”

Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams indicated his intent to fire McMahon in March, based in part on his conduct during another fatal shooting, that of 21-year old Willie McCoy. The termination is pending, a spokeswoman for the city said.

In a March letter to McMahon that was made public, Williams said McMahon endangered the lives of other police officers, neglected basic firearm safety and demonstrated “unsatisfactory work performance including, but not limited to, failure, incompetence,” in connection with the McCoy incident.

McMahon was temporarily placed on paid administrative leave following the fatal shooting of Foster, but was later cleared to return to duty. One year later, he was one of six officers who shot and killed McCoy, who was asleep in a car in a Taco Bell drive-through lane.

Vallejo police spokeswoman Brittany Jackson declined to provide details about McMahon’s leave, calling it a “pending personnel matter.” McMahon was paid $219,433 in salary and benefits in 2018, the year he shot Foster, according to public records.

Foster, 33, was riding a bike in downtown Vallejo without a headlamp the evening of Feb. 13, 2018, when he was spotted and pursued by McMahon, who later told investigators that he stopped Foster in order to “educate the public on the dangers that this person was creating for himself and the traffic on Sonoma Boulevard.”

After a brief pursuit, McMahon said, Foster grabbed his metal flashlight and tried to strike him during a physical altercation, prompting McMahon to open fire. Foster died at the scene after being shot in the back of the head.

Police later said Mc­Mahon had no choice but to use deadly force after Foster threatened him with the metal flashlight. Dark, grainy body camera footage released by the Vallejo Police Department at the time did not clearly show whether Foster presented the flashlight in the “threatening manner” that police described in statements following the shooting.

Foster’s family disputed the Police Department’s account of the encounter.

State agents issue misdemeanor citations to Benicia, Vacaville, Vallejo businesses for coronavirus violations

Coronavirus: State cites several Solano eateries for violating state guidelines

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Kim Fu, July 25, 2020

Agents with the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control conducted compliance sweeps throughout Northern California earlier this month and found several eateries, including in Solano County, in violation of coronavirus guidelines.

John Carr, an ABC spokesman, said agents issued misdemeanor citations for violating state emergency health orders. A district attorney, he said, will determine whether to prosecute.

Meanwhile, ABC has not taken any action against licenses where the violations occurred, Carr said, as the violations remain under review. Should disciplinary action be pursued, business owners may request a hearing before an administrative law judge. Penalties can range from a fine to a suspension to a revocation.

Businesses cited between July 3-5 include:

  • Muay Thai Cuisine, Vacaville, for indoor consumption and employees not wearing masks.
  • Kazan Japanese Cuisine, Vacaville, for indoor consumption and employees not wearing masks.
  • El Patron Mexican Food, Vacaville, for employees not wearing masks.
  • Back Door Bistro, Vacaville, for employees not wearing masks.
  • Koreana BBQ, Fairfield, for indoor consumption.
  • Cullens Tannery Pub,  Benicia , for indoor consumption and employees not wearing masks.

Businesses cited between July 6-16 include:

  • Gentlemen Jims, Vallejo, for indoor consumption and employees not wearing masks.
  • The Loft,  Benicia , for employees not social distancing.

Solano County officials not even discussing fines for face mask violations

Will Solano County start citing mask rebels?

Napa, Marin counties enact policy

Vallejo Times Herald, by Richard Freedman, July 24, 2020
People walk along the waterfront in Vallejo, some choosing not to wear face coverings. Solano County will not follow the lead of counties like Marin and Napa that could possibly cite those who are not in compliance with mask regulations. (Chris Riley—Times-Herald)

Solano County will not take Napa and Marin county leads and levy fines against those who refuse to wear face coverings during COVID-19.

Erin Hannigan, Solano County Board of Supervisors, District 1, said no similar policy is in discussion.

“We are not contemplating one at this time,” Hannigan said Friday, adding that “Cities are on the front lines of enforcement of the shelter-in-home orders.”

Napa and Marin counties approved fines up to $500 for violators ignoring state and local health orders after California surpassed New York on Wednesday with the highest COVID-19 case count. On Thursday, the state reported a record seven-day average for deaths.

Marin County can fine anti-maskers $25 to $500 and businesses can be fined between $250 and $10,000 for compliance failure.

Napa County passed its emergency ordinance July 14. People who hold gatherings or walk outside without a face covering risk fines mirroring Marin’s. Businesses could pay up to $5,000 for failing to enforce mask and social distancing rules.

It will not rely on sheriff’s deputies or city police officers. Instead, the county will use staffers in its code enforcement office. The ordinance leaves the level of that enforcement to a city’s discretion.

“I’m interested in seeing if the policies are effective,” Hannigan said.

In Vallejo, economic development director Annette Taylor communicates with any business that has been reported as violating “must-wear-mask” edict and will do spot checks, said Mayor Bob Sampayan.

A second complaint against the business garners a letter from the city attorney’s office.

So far, Sampayan said, “we haven’t needed to take it to the point of issuing a citation.”

Hannigan said enforcement would be difficult with an already-stretched thin police departments “and a very stretched Solano County Public Health office. It would be easier to enforce face coverings in businesses because the businesses are licensed through city’s and they can self regulate customers in their business. Individual face covering enforcement is harder.”

Solano County is following the COVID-19 guidelines from the California Dept. of Public Health which mandates wearing face coverings.

“We have to be reasonable and use common sense,” Sampayan said. “There are times you can’t wear a mask. Say you’re sitting outdoors at a restaurant for dinner. Are you going to be wearing a mask between bites and sips of a drink? That doesn’t make sense. But if you’re standing in a lobby of that restaurant, you should be wearing a mask and do the social distancing.”

Sampayan acknowledged that an elected official can influence adherence to public policy.

“I was chatting with a person on the waterfront the other day with several people around,” Sampayan said. “I had my mask on and one of them looked at me and said, ‘Sorry,’ and put their mask on.”

“For the most part, the majority of the public respects the need and the reasoning behind having to wear a mask,” Sampayan said. “I’m thankful for that. As (Dr. Anthony) Fauci said, “If we were to wear masks we can stop the spread within several months. This is not going to away on its own.”

Sampayan has been confronted by several who believe it’s their right as an American to not wear a face covering in public.

“I’m not going to debate with people. If you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t wear a mask,” Sampayan said. “However, think about the people around you. How many have we seen nationwide adamant that it’s their right to not wear a mask … and the next thing you know, they’ve come down with COVID-19 and they die.”

“We have had more residents speak at our Board meetings who are against wearing face masks,” Hanigan said. “I’m all for making sure everyone has a face covering and leading by example.”

Several sidewalk diners in front of Good Day Cafe in downtown Vallejo offered feedback Friday afternoon on the mask debate. To fine or not to fine?

“I think it depends on the situation,” said Tanya Hill of American Canyon. “I’m sitting here ready to eat, drinking a beverage. Clearly, I can’t wear a mask. Again, it depends on the situation. To just walk up to someone, ‘I’m going to ticket you,’ I don’t think that’s the best use of police.”

Requiring a merchant’s employees to wear masks “I think is a good way to go,” added Hill. “I think as a community we should all be invested to make sure everybody stays safe. One of the things I remember learning in high school civics: My rights end where your rights begin. You have as much right to be free from infection as I do. If I choose not to wear a mask, that hinders your rights. ”

Another diner, “Joe,” said a fine policy for not wearing masks “is good if you can’t social distance.”

Tyler Mitchell, however, disagreed.

“I think it should be left open to the individuals. I think that if you feel like you need masks for your own personal health you should wear one,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think it should be imposed on anyone else.”

Raymond Prather, owner of The Victory Stores downtown, believes that if there is an ordinance in place for individuals, “people should at least get a warning first.”

However, he added, “I don’t think people should be fined.  I think people should just have the sense to wear them.”

All Solano cities included in most severe COVID19 shutdown orders: Benicia, Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun, Rio Vista, Dixon

State of California – COVID19.CA.gov, July 13, 2020

County data monitoring

California is monitoring COVID-19 closely in each local community and keeping the public informed. We’re teaming up with counties to fight it with every tool we have: current local data, testing, contact tracing, infection control, emergency supplies, containment measures, and more.

Counties should be ready to restore limitations if outbreaks increase. The State Public Health Officer may take action if needed.

Effective July 13, 2020,  ALL counties  must close indoor operations in these sectors:
    • Dine-in restaurants
    • Wineries and tasting rooms
    • Movie theaters
    • Family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
    • Zoos and museums
    • Cardrooms

Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations both indoor and outdoor statewide, unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.

 Counties that have remained on the County Monitoring List  for 3 consecutive days will be required to shut down the following industries or activities unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up.
    • Fitness centers
    • Worship services
    • Protests
    • Offices for non-essential sectors
    • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
    • Hair salons and barbershops
    • Malls
The following counties have remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days:
Affected counties as of 7/13/20
  • Colusa
  • Contra Costa
  • Fresno
  • Glenn
  • Imperial
  • Kings
  • Los Angeles
  • Madera
  • Marin
  • Merced
  • Monterey
  • Napa
  • Orange
  • Placer
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • San Benito
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Joaquin
  • Santa Barbara
  •  Solano 
  • Sonoma
  • Stanislaus
  • Sutter
  • Tulare
  • Yolo
  • Yuba
  • Ventura

The State Public Health Officer may take additional action if needed.

Track county data and monitoring status


What is allowed to open in my county?

Use the map above to see which category your county falls into. See guidance for each of the mentioned industries.

For counties on Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days  [includes Solano] 

The following industries must close indoor operations, but they may be modified to operate outside or by pick-up:

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Wineries and tasting rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
  • Zoos and museums
  • Cardrooms
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
  • Places of worship
  • Offices for non-essential sectors
  • Malls

NOTE: Imperial County is open to the essential workforce only (Stage One). Alameda and Santa Clara County do not have an attestation and can only open industries open statewide.