California Attorney General Rob Bonta is launching an independent review into the fatal police shooting of Sean Monterrosa, a 22-year-old, unarmed Latino man, in Vallejo last year.
Bonta said Thursday in an announcement that his state’s Department of Justice would determine whether criminal charges were warranted against the officer.
“Without accountability, there is no justice,” Bonta said, adding that it was “past time Sean Monterrosa’s family, the community, and the people of Vallejo get some answers.”
Monterrosa was killed on June 2, 2020, after Vallejo police officers responded to reports of looting on the night of a Black Lives Matter protest. According to the police report, the officers saw a man — later identified as Monterrosa — outside a Walgreens who “appeared to be armed” and who ran toward a car, then turned to face officers and crouched.
Monterrosa, it turned out, was not carrying a gun — he had a hammer in his sweatshirt pocket. A civil rights lawsuit by Monterrosa’s family says the 22-year-old was “unarmed, on his knees” with nothing in his hands when he was shot. Officer Jarrett Tonn fired five times through the windshield of his vehicle, killing Monterrosa, according to the suit.
Police did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
“We are sick and tired of murderers being on the force and still getting paid, yet no convictions,” Sean’s sister Michelle Monterrosa said at a rally last summer.
In his announcement, Bonta condemned the “failure” of Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams, who “unilaterally abdicated her responsibility” by not conducting a review of the local police investigation of the incident.
Abrams accused Bonta of “playing politics.” She said Bonta first told her the state DOJ would not investigate the Monterrosa killing, then announced later that his office would.
Bonta’s office told HuffPost that after the attorney general “made clear” that Abrams should review the police investigation and she “still refused,” his office decided to do the independent review.
Earlier this week, Bonta announced a new racial justice bureau to investigate hate crimes and police misconduct.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.