A group of gathered at the 24th Street BART Station plaza on Friday to honor Sean Monterrosa, a San Francisco resident who was fatally shot by Vallejo police early Tuesday morning.
Monterrosa, 22, was shot by a Vallejo police officer responding to a report of looting at a Walgreen’s following a night of protests and disruption triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
Police said an officer fired five shots through the windshield of his vehicle after seeing a running man who suddenly stopped, knelt and put his hands above his waist. The officer saw what he apparently thought was the butt of a handgun, but it was later found to be a 15-inch hammer in Monterrosa’s sweatshirt pocket.
Monterrosa’s family members have decried the shooting, and civil rights attorney John Burris is expected to take on the case.
“I feel my brother in my bones, and I have his blood flowing through me,” Ashley Monterrosa said, her voice choked with emotion. “He was my best friend. He should have been here, right in the middle of it. Right here.”
Sister Michelle Monterrosa told the crowd Sean, a San Francisco native, was someone who loved literature, who believed in “dismantling the police,” whose mantra was “Push, pull, strive.”
“He was always down for the cause,” Michelle said. “My little brother would be right here fighting for George Floyd too.”
The rally for Monterrosa came a day after a massive protest march that drew more than 10,000 people to the Mission District. San Francisco and other cities around the Bay Area and nationwide have seen widespread protests this week calling for an end to police brutality, along with some outbreaks of vandalism and looting.
The shooting has brought renewed scrutiny to the Vallejo Police Department, which has had several other controversial police shootings and use of force incidents in recent years.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday announced an agreement to work with the department to draw up a plan to reduce police bias, increase law enforcement transparency and regain the public’s trust. The collaboration would last for three years, if approved by city leaders.
The Vallejo City Council is expected to ratify the agreement at its meeting Tuesday.
A GoFundMe account on behalf of Monterrosa’s family had raised more than $135,000 as of Friday. The creators of the page said half of the donation fund will go to funeral costs while the other half will go to legal fees.
The Monterrosa sisters said they had barely had time to mourn, they were so busy talking to media and attending rallies, speaking out about Sean’s death.
“This is about something bigger,” Ashley said “It’s not just about my brother, it’s about black lives matter, and brown lives matter.”