New figures from the Vallejo Police Department have detailed how police officers fatally shot aspiring rapper Willie McCoy 55 times in less than four seconds.
20-year-old Willie had fallen asleep in the drive thru lane of a Taco Bell in Vallejo, California, on the night of February 9.
Police officers made a welfare check at the scene after a Taco Bell employee alerted them about a man ‘slumped over’ in the driver’s seat of a silver Mercedes-Benz.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Willie was asleep when the officers arrived, and the officers noticed a gun on his lap.
Officers have said Willie leaned forward and reached for the weapon as he awoke. Body-cam footage shows Officer Colin Eaton shouting for Willie to put his hands where he could see them, before multiple shots were fired in rapid succession. The young man was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a 51-page report from retired peace officer David Blake, six officers shot 55 rounds at Willie in 3.5 seconds. These figures were made public on Thursday June 27 after local media outlets requested the full release of an analysis of the fatal shooting.
Blake concluded in his report that the officers’ decision to shoot Willie was justified, stating:
In general, I find the use of deadly force in this case to be reasonable and in line with contemporary training and police practices associated with use of deadly force.
The full release of this report came on the same day Willie’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Vallejo’s city manager and police chief, as well as the six officers who fired at Willie.
The family have claimed police officers violated Willie’s constitutional rights by repeatedly firing at him. They have also alleged the Vallejo police has a prior record of officer misconduct, including the use of excessive force.
City Attorney Claudia Quintana has issued a statement advising the investigation into the case is ongoing:
The death of Mr. McCoy is not the outcome that the city of Vallejo and our community desire.
We understand how difficult this situation is for everyone involved. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: for all persons to go home to their families, and we will continue working hard to identify those strategies that allow us to obtain desirable favourable outcomes to tough situations like the one addressed in the report.
Press conference announcing federal civil rights lawsuit in Vallejo Police Department shooting of Willie McCoy ia about to begin pic.twitter.com/ebgB8Ifc03
— Scott Morris (@OakMorr) June 27, 2019
Our thoughts are with the family of Willie McCoy.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.