“Tucan’s Weekend”: Justice for Sean Monterrosa 1-Year Anniversary
One year after Sean Monterrosa was killed by police in Vallejo, CA, his family — along with The Gathering for Justice, Grassroots Law Project, CURYJ, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, SF Black Wall Street and other organizations, elected officials, faith leaders, artists and athletes — held a weekend of activities in San Francisco to honor his memory and continue to call for justice. “Tucan” was Sean’s artist moniker, and the events on June 5–6 were dubbed Tucan’s weekend in celebration of his memory.
BACKGROUND ON THE CASE
22-year old Sean Monterrosa was shot and killed by Vallejo police on June 2, 2020. Sean was kneeling with his hands in the air when Vallejo police officer Jarrett Tonn fired 5 shots from the back seat of a moving, unmarked police vehicle. Sean was unarmed and was complying with police orders, yet he was killed in the police equivalent of a drive-by shooting.
Standard practice after an officer-involved shooting is for the Solano District Attorney’s office to investigate. However, DA Krishna Abrams recused herself from prosecuting the case, citing the “close working relationship” with the Vallejo PD and a “loss of community trust” to prosecute officers. Her recusal put the case on former State Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s desk, but Becerra’s office declined to investigate Sean’s death, expressing confidence in DA Abrams’ ability to handle the matter. DA Abrams took no action to conduct any investigation, leaving this case in limbo for eleven months. In May 2021, newly-appointed State Attorney General Rob Bonta announced his office would investigate Sean’s death. This is just the first step towards justice for Sean Monterrosa.
Marking one year without Sean was difficult for the Monterrosa family, so the block party on Saturday, June 5th was a chance to gather the community in celebration of Sean’s life. It was a beautiful, sunny day in San Francisco and the Monterrosas were surrounded with love as their friends, neighbors, fellow activists and other families impacted by police violence came out for a day of food, music, art, and performances. One of the highlights of the day was the joy we brought to Sean’s grandmother, who is 99 years old. She was full of smiles and danced all day long!
On Sunday morning, we joined the Monterrosas in hosting a brunch with other families impacted by police violence, to continue building connection and solidarity. The families in attendance included the family of Oscar Grant from Oakland, the family of Stephon Clark from Sacramento, the family of Steven Taylor from San Leandro, the family of Erik Salgado from Oakland, the family of Angelo Quinto from Antioch, the family of Alvin Cole from Wauwatosa, WI, and many families from across California and the U.S. We were also joined by actor and activist Danny Glover, whose arrival in the room created a lot of excitement. It’s more than just celebrity, having a respected elder validate their pain and share words of support and encouragement meant so much to the families gathered there. The conversation led to strategies for building power for tangible policy changes, in California and nationwide.
That afternoon, we held a rally in front of San Francisco City Hall, calling for justice not just for Sean, but for all victims of police violence. The program was incredibly powerful, featuring speeches from the Monterrosas and other impacted families, our President & CEO Carmen Perez-Jordan, former Black Panther Party chairwoman Elaine Brown, Baba Greg Hodge of the Brotherhood of Elders and more, as well as performances by poet, educator and Justice League CA member, Terisa Siagatonu, rapper and artist Equipto and musical artist Rocky Rivera.
We heard from multiple family members and others that the weekend’s events really centered those who’ve been directly impacted by police violence, with a blend of hope and power that refreshed their spirits. We at The Gathering for Justice are so grateful for all the volunteers who turned out to make the weekend events run smoothly and seamlessly!
The Gathering for Justice provided most of the financial resources for Tucan’s Weekend, and we hope to raise the funds that we committed to making this weekend a big success. If you are able to make a donation of any size, please visit our event-specific donation page.
Tucan’s Weekend was a powerful weekend of solidarity, hope and power. We hope that the connections built and strengthened this weekend sustain our growing movement for accountability and transparency in policing, in California and beyond. There are many policies that need our support in order to pass — from SB2, the police decertification bill, in California, to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act nationally. We hope that you will continue to make phone calls to legislators, attend rallies, speak to your family and friends, and stay involved in this movement!