Vallejo officer who shot, killed Sean Monterrosa reinstated with back pay and benefits: I-Team

Jarrett Tonn shot and killed Sean Monterrosa in June 2020 from the backseat of an unmarked police vehicle through the windshield

Melanie Woodrow Image
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Vallejo police officer who shot, killed Sean Monterrosa gets job back
Fired Vallejo Police Officer Jarrett Tonn who shot and killed Sean Monterrosa in 2020 has had his job reinstated, the ABC7 I-Team confirmed.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- A fired Vallejo Police Officer who shot and killed a man has had his job reinstated.

Vallejo Police Officers Association President Mike Nichellini confirmed to the ABC7 I-Team on Monday that Jarrett Tonn's termination has been overturned.

RELATED: Monterrosa sisters turned 'pain into purpose' in year since brother was killed by Vallejo officer

Wednesday marks one year since a Vallejo police officer shot and killed 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa.

Tonn shot and killed Sean Monterrosa June 2, 2020 from the backseat of an unmarked police vehicle through the windshield.

Monterrosa was outside a Walgreens where there had been a looting. Vallejo police said he was crouched down in a half kneeling position, moving his hands towards his waist area revealing what appeared to be the butt of a handgun. It turned out to be a hammer.

RELATED: Vallejo PD says Monterrosa was at half-kneel when shot in back of head by officer

Tonn's attorney tells the I-Team his termination was overturned at arbitration along with all allegations to his use of force.

He was reinstated with a letter of reprimand for failing to timely activate his body worn camera.

VIDEO: Vallejo police release bodycam footage from fatal shooting of Sean Monterrosa

Vallejo police released body camera video from the June 2 fatal shooting of Sean Monterrosa Wednesday. Officers shot and killed Monterrosa through the windshield of a patrol car following a night of looting.

He also received full back pay and benefits.

Sean's sisters, Michelle and Ashley, are planning to hold a press conference with their attorney on Thursday.

Lee Merritt, the attorney for the Monterrosa family issued a statement writing:

"Jarrett Tonn murdered an unarmed civilian. He shot Sean Monterrosa in the back of the head as he ran away. His behavior has fractured the Vallejo community and the decision to reinstate him is appalling. This murder was the third time Tonn has fired his weapon at an unarmed citizen. The Vallejo community can have no faith in Tonn as a community member let alone as a law enforcement officer.

His reinstatement is demonstrative of Vallejo's lack of accountability and vice-like grip the Vallejo Police Officer's association has on the citizens. The people of Vallejo deserve better. The family of Sean deserves better.
We are committed to holding Vallejo and Tonn accountable in our civil suit in the Eastern District of California. We can only hope Attorney General Bonta is equally committed to holding Tonn accountable in criminal court

Tonn's attorney, Josh Olander, also issued a statement:

"On August 18, 2023, Detective Jarrett Tonn's termination from the Vallejo Police Department related to his officer involved shooting involving Sean Monterossa on June 2, 2020 was overturned. Detective Tonn was reinstated with full back pay. This decision was issued after an evidentiary hearing and represented the second determination by a neutral hearing officer that Detective Tonn's use of deadly force was legally justified and his termination was not supported by the facts and the law. The decision confirmed that Mr. Monterossa posed an imminent and deadly threat and that Detective Tonn's use of force was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. The ruling noted that City's use of force experts - the OIR Group - improperly based their decision on hindsight analysis that is expressly prohibited under California law. Noting the similar perceptions of the three involved SWAT officers, the hearing officer determined that "Monterossa presented a life-threatening danger justifying the use of deadly force," and that Detective Tonn "reasonably perceived that Monterossa had the present ability, opportunity, and intent to cause death or serious bodily injury to them." Further, Mr. Monterossa's actions immediately preceding the shooting were determined to be inconsistent with surrender or retreat. In rejecting the City's experts, the OIR Group, the ruling explained: "Department Policy and PC 835a forbid second-guessing of an officer's use of deadly force based upon hindsight. This means that facts unknown to the officers are not relevant in analyzing whether an officer reasonably believes there is a threat of imminent harm. Here, OIR relied upon several facts unknown to the officers at the time of the shooting: that Monterossa was in possession of a hammer and not a gun; and that Monterossa was shot in the back of the head." The ruling contained several additional significant findings: De-escalation was not feasible "because an officer who reasonably believes he is about to shot and killed is entitled to use deadly force at that moment." Despite politically motivated comments to the contrary, then-Chief Shawny Williams admitted in a Department email that Tonn "perceived a deadly threat" and that he had "the most profound appreciation for (his) hard work, dedication and courage." That admission contradicted the Chief's public comments and decision to terminate Tonn, despite privately acknowledging he "was justified in using deadly force." Then-Chief Williams also violated Department policy requiring that a Critical Incident Review Board be convened following an officer involved shooting. The ruling states that "had normal procedures been followed, (Detective Tonn) would have been cleared of wrongdoing and termination would not have occurred." Detective Tonn and the Vallejo Police Officers'Association are thankful for the due process rights in California, so that determinations are rendered based on the law and evidence rather than political expediency. Detective Tonn and the membership of the Vallejo Police Officers' Association will continue to serve and protect the citizens of Vallejo."

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live