ACLU, SF Board of Supes request release of footage in Monterrosa shooting

Vallejo Times-Herald, by John Glidden, July 6, 2020 
Jorge and Linda Moreno, former roommates of Sean Monterrosa, protest in front of City Hall prior to a June 5 march. Monterrosa was killed by a Vallejo police officer on June 2. (Chris Riley – Times-Herald file photo)

Pressure continues to mount from outside Vallejo to release body camera footage from the fatal officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa in front of a Vallejo Walgreens during the early morning hours of June 2.

Both the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have taken the rare action of asking Vallejo leaders to release the body camera footage immediately, instead of delaying release of the footage up to 45 calendar days — as allowed by state law.

“For years, police accountability and civil rights activist in Vallejo have run up against a police department that has disproportionately targeted people of color, has been allowed to brutalize Black and Latino residents, and has rarely been held accountable for its actions,” part of the supervisors’ June 16 resolution reads.

In its five-page letter from June 30, the ACLU criticizes the city for failing to release the body camera footage, and video from a private drone sought through the California Public Records Act by the nonprofit public interest newsroom Open Vallejo.

“Not only is the city required to release these records pursuant to the PRA, the city’s delay erodes what little public trust remains with a community that has seen far too many killed and brutally assaulted by the police,” the letter states.

Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco was shot and killed outside the Walgreens on Redwood Street. Law enforcement sources say the police officer is Jarrett Tonn. He fired five times through a car windshield, hitting Monterrosa once. City and police officials have yet to officially confirm Tonn as the shooter.

“Sean Monterrosa was my constituent and a beloved member of the Bernal Heights and Mission District neighborhoods that I represent,” said San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who authored the resolution, in a statement to the Times-Herald on Monday. “He was a passionate advocate for social justice, and his death by Vallejo police has left a painful void in our community. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the resolution I authored urging the release of body camera footage from the officers involved in Sean’s death in order to bring greater transparency to this case and help Sean’s family obtain the justice they deserve.”

Monterrosa’s sister, Ashley Monterrosa, told the Times-Herald over the weekend that the family was offered the chance recently to watch the body camera footage, but only without a lawyer. The family declined.

Ashley Monterrosa said the family is hoping to watch the footage some time this week with their lawyer. She said a lawsuit would likely be followed afterward. The Monterrosa family is being represented by civil rights attorney John Burris.