VALLEJO (KPIX) — The Vallejo City Attorney plans to ask a judge to order the Solano County District Attorney to investigate two high-profile fatal police shootings. So far, the district attorney is refusing to do so.
“We will be asking a judge to order Ms. Abrams to do her job, to find that she has no legal conflict of interest, to find that she has a contractual obligation under the Solano County Officer Involved Fatal Incident Protocol and to order her to perform her obligations under that contract,” said Christina Lee, Public Information Officer for the city of Vallejo.
In a recent video statement, Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams announced she will decline to prosecute the Vallejo police shootings, and instead wil ask the state attorney general to take the cases.
“Given the exceptional circumstances of the magnitude and the perceived conflict of the current cases, lack of public trust from some community members it is my professional judgement that our office must recuse itself from any further review of these two cases,” Abrams said.
But Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office declined the request, declaring the district attorney does not have a conflict of interest.
“It is the proverbial hot potato, no one wants to take the heat of making a decision,” said attorney John Burris who is representing the families in both cases.
Sean Monterrosa was killed on June 2. A police officer responding to a looting, fired at Monterrosa through the front windshield from the back seat of a moving vehicle. The officer said he thought Monterrosa had a gun, but it turned out to be a hammer.
Vallejo police shot Willie McCoy to death, last year. He was asleep at a Taco Bell drive-through. Police say when he woke up, he reached for his gun. Officers shot him 55 times.
Since Abrams took office in 2014, there have been 13 police shootings in Vallejo, 6 of them fatal. So far, Abrams has not filed any charges.
“She does not have the confidence of the African-American community and the Hispanic community in Vallejo,” Burris said. “There have been too many shootings over the last 3 to 5 years – shooting cases, death cases – under very questionable circumstances where a criminal prosecution should occur. That has not happened.”
Judge Ladoris Cordell said the district attorney is legally obligated to investigate and prosecute the cases.
“If there is no public trust in her office, my question to the D.A. is, ‘why is she there?’ Why does she not resign?” Cordell asked.
The California Attorney General’s office did investigate the Stephon Clark case in Sacramento, so Cordell said it is not unprecedented. Still, Cordell said the Sacramento D.A. was responsible for prosecuting the case, and the Solano County District Attorney has the same obligation.
“That’s why she signed on to the job. If there were a conflict of interest, sure, that would be a legitimate reason for the AG to consider and then decide whether or not to come in. But the AG himself has pointed out: there’s no conflict of interest here. You just don’t want to do this,” Cordell said.
District Attorney Abrams declined an interview with KPIX5 Tuesday, but said in a statement:
“We remain diligent in our efforts to secure an independent review of the McCoy case. The investigation into the officer-involved shooting death of Sean Monterrosa is not yet complete.”
The Vallejo City Attorney’s office said it has been in conversations with federal, state and local officials to try and resolve the issue. But if nothing changes by the end of the week, the city is going to ask a Superior Court judge to issue a writ of mandamus ordering the District Attorney to conduct the investigations.