California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced an agreement Friday with Vallejo to reform the city’s police department in the wake of police shooting earlier this week of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa outside a Walgreens store.
The attorney general’s office plans to collaborate with Vallejo officials 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.
“When our communities speak up, we must listen – and, in recent days, people across California and the nation, and in Vallejo have bravely come together to make their voices heard,” Becerra said. “This is only a first step in our broader fight for racial justice. We must all do our part, and we must do it now.”
Vallejo police officers have received scrutiny this week following the shooting of Monterrosa outside a Walgreens just after midnight Tuesday. The department has been involved in several other high-profile uses of force in recent years, as well, the state Department of Justice said.
Officers responded to a report of looting near the pharmacy Tuesday and saw Monterrosa, a San Francisco resident, running from the building toward a vehicle, according to the department. Monterrosa then kneeled to the ground while facing officers at the scene, who believed the hammer sticking out of his sweatshirt pocket was a gun.
An officer fired at least five times at Monterrosa through the windshield of his squad car and hit him once, according to Vallejo police. Monterrosa died at a local hospital.
The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending investigations by the Vallejo police and the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.
The team of law enforcement practice experts from the state’s Department of Justice will work with the department to draft a set of best practices tailored specifically for Vallejo. The state team will also evaluate the department’s implementation of the new best practices.
“As chief, I have already implemented a stronger body-worn camera policy, an improved de-escalation policy, and a program to regularly analyze use-of-force data, but the biggest steps are ahead of us,” Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said. “I welcome all voices to the table.”
The Vallejo City Council is expected to ratify the agreement at its meeting Tuesday.