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Monterrosa Sisters Arrested Protesting Outside Newsom's Home

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Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa speak during a July 11, 2020 protest demanding justice for their brother Sean, who was killed by Vallejo police on June 2.  (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

The sisters of a young Latino man shot and killed by Vallejo Police earlier this summer were arrested while protesting outside Gov. Gavin Newsom's house Friday afternoon to mark the four-month anniversary of their brother’s death.

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa, the sisters of Sean Monterrosa, were arrested and reportedly scheduled for release at 6 a.m. Saturday morning after being detained in Sacramento County Jail. Sacramento inmate logs say Ashley and Michelle were released Saturday.

Their brother Sean, a 22-year-old from San Francisco, was killed by a Vallejo police officer who fired a semi-automatic rifle through the windshield of an unmarked police vehicle on June 2 as officers responded to reports of a break-in at a Walgreens.

Police said the officer fired after mistaking a hammer tucked into Monterrosa's sweatshirt for a gun.

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About 17 protesters were arrested Friday during a protest staged on the driveway of the governor's home demanding Newsom appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

As it stands, no criminal investigation into the Monterrosa shooting is currently underway; Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams recused herself from investigating the case, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra has not committed to investigating, either.

The Monterrosa sisters were taken to the Capitol Protection Section office in Downtown Sacramento and charged with trespass, unlawful assembly, failure to disperse, failure to disperse at a public disturbance, and conspiring to commit a crime against the governor, according to California Highway Patrol.

In a statement, CHP said they met with protest organizers and issued several dispersal orders, "advising them to leave voluntarily or face arrest."

“We’re not doing anything,” the sisters could be heard saying in a livestream posted to Instagram before their arrest. “We are unarmed, we are being very civil, and we just want a conversation. We want Gavin Newsom to make a statement, appoint a special prosecutor, fire arrest and charge [Officer] Jarrett Tonn for murdering our brother.”

The officer who shot Sean Monterrosa has still not been identified by the city of Vallejo or its Police Department, though local reporters have identified him as Detective Jarrett Tonn.

In August, the Monterrosa family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit for wrongful death against the city of Vallejo and Tonn.

Monterrosa's death marked the first fatal police shooting in Vallejo since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests against police violence, including in Vallejo.

Protests and a renewed eruption of anger among Vallejo residents have also been marred by allegations that evidence in the Monterrosa case was destroyed.

Chief Williams confirmed the windshield the officer fired through was not preserved as evidence. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced in July that his office would investigate the destruction of evidence in the case.

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