The news is out: [VALLEJO — The president of the Vallejo police union is one of two employees on suspension and under investigation for destruction of evidence in the police killing of Sean Monterrosa, multiple sources told this news organization.
Lt. Michael Nichelini, who oversees the patrol division, is on administrative leave related to the destruction of a windshield police shot through to kill Monterrosa on June 2, according to those sources. His exact role in discarding the bullet-ridden windshield is not known, and Nichelini did not return messages seeking comment.
Police Chief Shawny Williams has not publicly named the two employees put on leave, but the city contacted the FBI to investigate, as has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Monterrosa was shot and killed by an officer that multiple law enforcement sources have identified as Jarrett Tonn, a Vallejo police detective who had fired his duty weapon at people on three prior occasions. Tonn fired five times through the windshield, apparently mistaking the handle of a hammer in Monterrosa’s sweater for a gun.
John Burris, an Oakland-based civil rights attorney who is expected to next month sue the city on behalf of Monterrosa’s family, called the windshield’s destruction “a criminal offense” and said that Nichelini was thumbing his nose in the chief’s authority.
“By destroying this evidence, (Nichelini) weakened the criminal investigation and the civil rights case, it’s quite disturbing and a brazen lack of respect,” Burris told this newspaper Friday. “It really speaks to the outlaw nature of many Vallejo police officers, who feel they’re above the law, that they can destroy evidence and not be held accountable.”]
That’s what they do.