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California AG will investigate deadly police shooting of Sean Monterrosa

“We will not be bringing him back, but the action today is critical,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said on Thursday. “We must have complete, thorough, impartial, fair reviews of officer involved shootings.”

Monterrosa was killed on June 2, 2020 outside a Walgreens store in Vallejo, California. An officer, who was investigating reports of looting on a night of civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death, fired his weapon through a police vehicle’s windshield, striking Monterrosa, police said.

Thursday’s announcement comes months after family members and activists called for the state to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting.

In recent weeks, there have been increasing calls for police accountability among the Hispanic community after the police killing of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy in Chicago, and the death of Mario Gonzalez Arenales, a 26-year-old Latino man who died in police custody in Alameda, California.

Bonta’s office said the Solano County District Attorney “unilaterally abdicated her responsibility as the elected district attorney and refused to conduct a review of the Vallejo Police Department’s investigation of the incident.”

CNN has reached out to Krishna A. Abrams, the Solano County District Attorney for a comment.

“Without accountability, there is no justice,” Bonta said in a statement. “It’s past time Sean Monterrosa’s family, the community, and the people of Vallejo get some answers. They deserve to know where the case stands. Instead, they’ve been met with silence. It’s time for that to change; it’s time for action.”

The investigation by local authorities into the shooting was completed in March and turned over to the DA’s office, but “there has been no commitment by an appropriate authority to review the investigation and apply the law to the facts in that investigation and make a decision that’s consistent with the law and the facts,” Bonta said.

Monterrosa’s family said it was an emotional day for them. They said they were “relieved that action will finally be taken” after nearly a year passed since the deadly shooting.

“It feels incredibly meaningful to finally receive the respect our family and Sean deserved these past nearly 12 months. We have made deep sacrifices to get to this point,” the family said in a statement.

The family noted there are many other families in California who have been impacted by police violence and “whose pleas for accountability went unanswered.”

“Today, Attorney General Bonta gave us hope that his office is willing to begin that long walk to justice, for Sean Monterrosa and all the victims of police violence,” the family said.

Last month, Monterrosa’s sisters said in a letter published in the San Francisco Examiner that Bonta’s appointment as the state’s attorney general gave them hope that prosecutors “will finally take police violence seriously, prosecute officers who abuse their power and push for decertification for officers who’ve killed unarmed Californians.”
The family has previously called for a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting and reports that evidence in the case was destroyed.
Last year, less than two weeks after the shooting, city officials said they discovered that the bullet-riddled windshield from the police vehicle from which an officer fired at Monterrosa was destroyed. The vehicle was “placed back into service without prior consultation with the Police Chief of City’s Attorney’s Office,” the city said in a statement.
Former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said last year that the California Department of Justice was investigating the alleged destruction of evidence in Monterrosa’s case.

The police department has said it was “grateful” that state officials were conducting an investigation into the alleged destruction of evidence. Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said in a statement last year that he was “deeply disappointed with the turn of events that led to the windshield not being preserved” and that an internal investigation was launched.

CNN has reached out to the attorney general’s office asking about the status of that investigation.

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