The body cam footage of the shooting death of 20-year-old Willie McCoy, who was asleep in his vehicle in a Taco Bell drive-thru, has been released by the Vallejo Police Department. Minutes prior to the fatal shooting, which happened last month, Vallejo police had discussed whether they were going to open his car door to grab a pistol that was allegedly in his lap and drag him out of the car, according to police body-cam footage released on Friday.
The door was locked.
In a nutshell, the cops didn’t even attempt to devise a plan to safely retrieve McCoy from the vehicle.
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Vallejo Police Chief Andrew Bidou, in an “effort to be transparent,” released unedited as well as edited footage of McCoy being shot to death to the public along with a statement.
The statement can be read here.
“It is our hope that we provided sufficient context for the community to understand the facts of this incident,” the statement read.
Willie McCoy’s family has maintained that the young man was never fully aware of what was happening when he was killed.
Initially, a police spokesperson said that McCoy “was not sleeping during the entire incident,” writing in an email: “He woke up on his own and sat up, reach [sic] for the handgun when the officers told him to show them his hands, then the officers fired.”
Now that police have released the almost 30-minute body cam footage, it appears to not be in line with what the Vallejo police said happened, initially.
*Graphic Content TRIGGER WARNING*
Contrary to what the officers indicated previously, they never attempted to wake McCoy up. The video clearly shows a sleeping McCoy was not aware of the danger he would soon face. The body cam footage shows the officers opening fire after Willie McCoy scratched his shoulder and then yelling for the unresponsive young man to put his hands up.
Marc McCoy, Willie’s older brother, said: “They never looked threatened. They never feared for their lives … There was never any attempt to resolve this in a peaceful way.”
“They’re being political now,” continued the elder McCoy. “Look, that’s the way our society is. If your people do wrong, you’re not allowed to say, ‘Hey, we messed up.’ That’s the way we’ve been trained.”
The police department still support the theory that Officers Ryan McMahon, Collin Eaton, Bryan Glick, Jordon Patzer, Anthony Romero-Cano and Mark Thompson feared for their lives in the parking lot. All of the officers have been cleared to return to work and are back on the streets.
McMahon was involved in a fatal incident Feb. 13, 2018, when he encountered Ronell Foster, 32, a father of two.
Authorities said Foster was part of a domestic dispute call, and in the course of an investigation, he was approached by officers while riding his bicycle downtown. He then began running, police said, and McMahon caught up with him and they got into a “violent physical struggle.”
Witnesses said that the man was unarmed when McMahon killed him.
Vallejo, a city of more than 122,000 with a police force of about 100 officers, has seen eight cases since January 2017 in which officers fired their weapons — more than any police force in Solano County and neighboring Contra Costa County, according to the Vallejo Times-Herald. In addition, five of the department’s officers have been involved in at least two shootings since 2016.
The McCoy family has, rightfully, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Vallejo Police Department.
“There’s a seeming failure to hold officers accountable, and it creates this environment that regardless of what you do and how you do it, you won’t be disciplined,” said Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who is representing McCoy’s family and whose firm has filed at least six cases involving Vallejo police, including Foster’s.
The Vallejo Police Department, in every case, never found any wrongdoing committed by any of its officers.
In this case and others, the facts in the report don’t match what’s seen on video.
The city of Vallejo is racially and ethically diverse. It boasts a population of Hispanics which comprises 20% of the people there; 30% are White; 22% are Black; 25% are Asian; and 3% are of mixed or other heritage and is considered to be one of the most diverse cities in America.
The police force is not indicative of the city’s population. Of the 110 police officers on the force, 70% are white. Police Chief Bidou should be actively going into the community to recruit non-white officers as well as holding his officers accountable.