, June 24, 2022

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Vallejo officer who killed Sean Monterrosa’s termination overturned


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Vallejo officer who killed Sean Monterrosa’s termination overturned
Vallejo police Officer Jarrett Tonn.

VALLEJO – The Vallejo police officer who shot and killed Sean Monterrosa in 2020 had his termination overturned following a mandatory review hearing, sources with knowledge of the proceeding told the Vallejo Sun.

The department sought to fire Detective Jarrett Tonn for violations of the department’s use of force policy and failing to de-escalate before he and two other officers drove into a Walgreens parking lot while responding to a break-in they witnessed there. Tonn shot Monterrosa from the moving truck.

The termination was recommended following an outside investigation by the Southern California-based firm OIR Group and the termination letter was sent by Chief Shawny Williams in December.

Three sources told the Vallejo Sun that following a mid-April Skelly hearing, a mandatory review hearing for law enforcement officers facing discipline, that Tonn’s use of force violations and termination were overturned by Skelly officer Marc Fox this week.

Tonn’s name has still not been officially confirmed by the city following a lawsuit by the Vallejo Police Officers Association, which argued that Tonn faced threats after the shooting.

The Vallejo City Attorney's Office refused to release Tonn's Skelly material despite that it is a public record under California law, citing a court order in the POA's lawsuit preventing the city from naming the officer. "Until such time as that order is lifted, the City will not disclose any information that identifies or tends to identify that officer," Chief Assistant City Attorney Randy Risner said in an email.

On June 1, 2020, Tonn and the other officers were assigned to a SWAT team patrolling the city during widespread roving burglaries and nationwide protests over the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Just after midnight on June 2, Tonn fired five times through the truck’s windshield, saying he saw Monterrosa enter a crouched shooting position, and shot Monterrosa in the back of the head.

Monterrosa did not have a gun and was carrying a roofing hammer in the pocket of his hoodie.

Monterrosa's sisters, Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa, said they had just posted on the Justice for Sean social media page reminding people Tonn had been fired, only to learn the decision had been overturned.

"Bullshit," they said in unison, adding it goes against all the pressure affected families put on Vallejo police to get Tonn fired. The Monterrosa sisters said they now have to reach out to affected families to see what their next moves will be.

Tonn's Skelly officer also overturned a 40-hour suspension given to then-Lt. Fabio Rodriquez during his own Skelly hearing in April 2021. Rodriquez was initially disciplined by Williams for having the windshield Tonn fired through replaced instead of being preserved as evidence.

Fox concluded that Rodriquez should receive corrective action instead of discipline.

“While I disagree with the lieutenant's decision, it was a decision he was authorized to make,” Fox wrote. “On a finer technicality, the police truck in question was never entered as evidence and if never entered into the system as evidence, then it could not be disposed/released from evidence.”

Last December, Rodriquez was hired as a captain for the Napa Police Department.

Other officers involved in the Monterrosa shooting have left the department prior to facing discipline. The driver of the truck, Bretton Wagoner, left the department in September to join the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. Wesley Pittman, who was in the truck’s passenger seat, was given a written reprimand.

Capt. Lee Horton, who came up with the plan and was cited by the OIR report for a failure of leadership, retired days before the report was released.

Tonn’s termination being overturned is yet another blow for Williams. Another Vallejo officer who was fired by Williams, Lt. Herman Robinson, had his termination overturned in arbitration in April and has since returned to the department.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comments from Monterrosa's family, background on Lt. Fabio Rodriguez's Skelly process, and a response from the Vallejo City Attorney's Office. Brian Krans and John Glidden contributed reporting.

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