Attorney General Becerra Issues Statement on California Department of Justice Stepping In to Investigate Vallejo Police Department’s Alleged Destruction of Evidence

Friday, July 17, 2020
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On July 15, the City of Vallejo announced that evidence relating to the officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa had been destroyed 

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued a statement announcing that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) is stepping in to investigate the alleged destruction of evidence by the Vallejo Police Department (VPD). The decision follows the City of Vallejo’s announcement on July 15 that evidence in relation to the officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa had been destroyed, and the city’s subsequent request that DOJ conduct an investigation to determine if any criminal offenses were committed. The investigation will only be in regards to the destruction of evidence, and special agents with DOJ will relay any and all relevant findings to the Solano County District Attorney’s Office for review.

“The allegations concerning destruction of evidence under the watch of the Vallejo Police Department are significant,” said Attorney General Becerra. “For public trust to exist, each and every part of our criminal justice system must operate in cohesion and there’s little room for error. That’s why we’ve accepted Chief Williams’ request to take a look at what happened with the evidence and relay our findings to the District Attorney’s Office for review. The bottom line is that law enforcement across the country are rightly coming under the microscope and they have to get these things right if there’s going to be a chance to rebuild trust. Make no mistake: we’re going to be thorough — and that includes in our separate review into the Vallejo Police Department’s policies and practices. Our communities, particularly Black Americans and people of color during this time of social upheaval, deserve to know that we are listening and doing our part to take action.”

On July 15, the City of Vallejo announced that the windshield from the VPD vehicle involved in the June 2 officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa had been destroyed and that the vehicle was placed back into service. As a result, the city also announced that an employee has been placed on administrative leave. DOJ has agreed to work to ensure that the destruction of evidence is fully and objectively investigated.

The investigation being announced today is separate from DOJ’s ongoing review of VPD’s policies and practices. As part of that agreement, DOJ is working with a team of its own police practices experts to develop best practices specifically for VPD and will independently evaluate their implementation efforts. The agreement between DOJ and the City of Vallejo and its police department is currently in effect for a period of three years.

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