Modesto Police

Officer terminated for use of deadly force in violation of policies and training

Modesto, CA- The Modesto Police Department has completed the administrative investigation into the actions of Officer Joseph Lamantia, who shot and killed Trevor Seever after responding to a 9-1-1 call for service on December 29, 2020.

Over the past two and a half months, this investigation has been a top priority for the Modesto Police Department. Investigators have worked diligently to ensure it was completed in a fair and timely manner.

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“The death of Trevor Seever is a tragedy for his family, friends, and our community”

Brandon Gillespie, Interim Police Chief

Use of Force Review Board

The completed case was presented to the department’s Use of Force Review Board where it was determined the conduct and use of deadly force by Officer Joseph Lamantia was in violation of the Modesto Police Department’s policies, procedures, and training, resulting in a recommendation to terminate Officer Lamantia’s employment with the City of Modesto. After a thorough review of the board’s findings and following the required legal process, Interim Chief Gillespie affirmed the recommendation and terminated Joseph Lamantia’s employment this morning, March 18, 2021.

Interim Chief Gillespie offered the following sentiments to the Seever family and friends, as well as to our community: “The actions of Officer Joseph Lamantia on December 29th, 2020 did not meet the high standards our community, our department, and I demand of our officers. The death of Trevor Seever is a tragedy for his family, friends, and our community. The men and women of the Modesto Police Department work hard every day to build and maintain positive relationships. I understand Officer Lamantia’s actions have set us back. Our department is dedicated to serving the public and committed to rebuilding any trust we have lost.”

Investigation by District Attorney’s Office

Scales of Justice

The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office has been conducting an independent, parallel investigation in regards to this shooting. The Modesto Police Department has turned over all known evidence and information regarding the case to the DA’s office. Last night, we learned that District Attorney Birgit Fladager is filing charges against Joseph Lamantia. Prior to publicly announcing these developments, Interim Chief Gillespie, Mayor Sue Zwahlen, and District Attorney Birgit Fladager met with the Seever Family to advise them of these updates.

“I have met with the Seever family on a couple of occasions and continue to offer my full support as they begin to heal after their tragic loss,” said Modesto Mayor Sue Zwahlen. “We mourn alongside the Seever family, and now begin the process of healing our community.”

Engage the community

In light of this incident, and recognizing the local and national conversation on policing, the City acknowledges the need to further engage the Modesto community.

Accordingly, Mayor Zwahlen is announcing the launch of an engagement process to consider the community’s interest in Modesto Police Department’s policies and practices. This process will include the establishment of a committee with participation from members of various civic organizations, community groups, and law enforcement. The City will hold an initial listening session to hear from the community to outline areas of concern. The committee will then offer recommendations to council within 6-12 months for their consideration.

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