FAIRFIELD – A lawyer who represents the families of two men who were shot by the Vallejo police, said on Friday that she was pleased with District Attorney Krishna Abrams' decision to withdraw from the investigation into these shootings.
However, she pointed out that Abrams' decision did not fully address the situation regarding police brutality in Vallejo and impartial justice for other victims.
Vallejo's lawyer, Melissa Nold, and other lawyers representing the families of men who have been shot and killed by the Vallejo police since 2017, have asked for redress in the investigation into five shootings based on what the lawyers did describe as prejudices of Abrams that favor the police.
Nold said Friday that Abrams' decision to request an external review in both cases is a move in the right direction and will lay the foundation for Attorney General Xavier Becerra to show that he can provide an unbiased review of fatal police shootings.
"Although we are glad that she reused for these two cases, we are disappointed that she chose cases for rejection," said Nold in a written response to the Daily Republic. “In the past, the district attorney took up to two years to make a filing decision that had to be completed before the attorney general examined the case.
"This decision means that the families will hopefully receive answers and a review earlier by people who are not directly connected to the Vallejo Police Department," said Nold in her written response. "This decision will also test the Attorney General's bias and help determine whether he should be replaced at the time of the election."
Abrams announced on Thursday that it had freed itself and its office from investigating Vallejo police shootings that left Sean Monterrosa and Willie McCoy dead.
Nold represents the families of Monterrosa and McCoy as well as the families of Angel Ramos and Eric Reason. The company with which she is affiliated in Oakland represents the family of Ronell Foster.
Abrams announced her decision and the reasons for it in a video posted on the Prosecutor’s YouTube channel. In the video, she said that she asked the Attorney General to investigate the two fatal police shootings.
Such an investigation would determine whether the officials involved should be prosecuted or exempted from crime for their actions.
Abrams in the video said she was confident that her office could investigate police shootings in a fair and thorough manner, but also said that an independent review of the Monterrosa and McCoy shootings is currently required.
"Current circumstances force an external review to not only restore public confidence, maintain the security of our community, but also create confidence in the outcome," she said.
The Abrams announcement is the latest in a Vallejo-specific campaign against police brutality and social justice that has coincided with nationwide protests since the police died in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25 when George Floyd died.
Lawyers representing the families of the five men who were shot and killed by the police in Vallejo sent a letter on 22 June asking Abrams to withdraw from the investigation into the Monterrosa and McCoy shootings, and asked them to do so to resume investigations into the Reason, Foster, and police shootings of Ramos, and also pass these cases on to external review.
The next day, Abrams announced that her office had tried and failed to get the Attorney General to investigate the Monterrosa case.
San Francisco's 22-year-old Monterrosa was shot by Detective Jarrett Tonn, who responded shortly after midnight on June 2 to reports of thefts from the Walgreens on the 1000 block of Redwood Street. Police said the detective who shot through the windshield of his unmarked police cruiser thought Monterrosa had a gun and was going to shoot officers at the scene.
There was no weapon, but Monterrosa had what the police called a 15-inch hammer.
Out of service Richmond Police Department Sgt.Virgil Thomas of Fairfield shot Reason  from Vallejo at 5:25 p.m. November 10, 2019, during a dispute between the two men in a retail parking lot on the 500 block of Fairgrounds Drive.
The 20-year-old McCoy was shot shortly after 10:35 p.m. by six Vallejo police officers during an exchange of gunfire. February 8, 2019 while in a vehicle in the drive-through lane of a Taco Bell restaurant on the 900 block of Admiral Callaghan Lane.
Police report that McCoy had a fully loaded .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol on his lap when he was dozing in the vehicle. Police report that when McCoy appeared to be waking up, he ignored the officials' orders to put his hands up and instead "quickly moved his hands down to get the gun."
Then the officers opened fire on McCoy and shot him dozens of times within seconds.
The 33-year-old Foster from Vallejo was shot shortly after 7.40 p.m. February 13, 2018, during a fight with Officer Ryan McMahon.
McMahon shot Foster with a taser during the fight, the police said. The police later said that Foster had grabbed McMahon's flashlight and used it "menacingly". Police said McMahon was afraid for his safety and shot at Foster with his service weapon, who was pronounced dead shortly after his shot.
The shooting ended at the end of a foot hunt that began in the Marin and Florida streets and ended in the 400 block area of Carolina Street.
Police officer Zach Jacobsen shot 21-year-old Angel Ramos from Vallejo, who, according to police, was armed with a knife during a street fight in front of a large group shortly before January 23, 2017 at 12:45 p.m. on the 1700 block of Sacramento Street.
Police said Ramos was "an immediate and deadly threat" to a 16-year-old Union City resident who was lying on his back, police said. The police said Ramos was shot several times and died at the scene.