You don’t have to look much further than the headline in USA Today to see the clear media bias:
Police in California shot 55 times in 3.5 seconds and killed Willie McCoy. That’s ‘reasonable,’ report says
The USA Today hasn’t tried to hide their feelings on police, and this latest report is no exception. Here’s the deal.
The city of Vallejo, California ordered an independent “use of force” report in the February shooting of a slain rapper.
The report released this week found that six officers fired 55 times at 20-year-old Willie McCoy in just 3.5 seconds he woke up from sleeping in his car in the drive-thru lane of a Taco Bell restaurant.
The report concluded each officer had probable cause to believe McCoy posed an immediate threat.
Attorney John Burris says the report was irrelevant, arguing the hired expert also deemed police had probable cause in the fatal 2018 shooting of Stephon Clark.
Which, of course, prosecutors agreed that they did have.
In that shooting, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said the evidence – including video of the scene – showed that the victim, Stephon Clark, 22, was advancing on the two officers and was in a shooting posture when they opened fire.
“It only means to me that local police agencies have found a person they can count on to support their position,” Burris said.
The report’s author, David Blake, is a police consultant and retired peace officer. He also wrote that police had reasonable suspicion to detain McCoy, who was found unconscious in his car while in possession of a gun.
To write the report, Blake reviewed video footage and interviewed officers and witnesses to inform his opinions.
“Officers are not required to wait until a weapon is pointed at them to take the necessary steps to save their own lives,” Blake wrote in the report.
He added that their actions were “reasonable based upon my training and experience as a range instructor as well as through applied human factors psychology.”
According to city attorney Claudia Quintana, the independent report is not expected to affect the investigations by the Vallejo Police Department or Solano County District Attorney’s Office. Police have previously said it may take nearly two years for the office to issue a final report.
The report was released as everyone anticipates civil litigation, Quintana said.
Burris has filed both a wrongful death and civil rights violation claim against the city and is planning on a federal lawsuit as well.
In March, California police released bodycam footage of the fatal shooting.
It took place at a Taco Bell drive-thru.
The Vallejo Police Department released a 30-minute video showing different angles from the officers’ cameras. The shooting has garnered widespread attention after reports came out saying the rapper was “unconscious”.
That’s why in a rare move, the department has released both raw footage of the incident along with edited takes, complete with subtitles, a slow-motion view of crucial moments and play-by-play text that include an officer’s version of events not readily seen in the video.
In the video (segments of which can be seen in the edited piece at the bottom of this article), you can see officers approach a vehicle where 20-year-old Willie McCoy was inside. McCoy was a local rapper. In the footage, you can’t see his face or a weapon.
The video includes the original 911 call recording from a Taco Bell employee who says a driver is passed out in his car.
You can hear officers talking about how McCoy has a gun in his lap. Subtitles on the video say it was loaded with an extended 14-round magazine. In the video, you can hear the officers talking about opening the door and grabbing the gun… but the door was locked.
The officers notice McCoy moving in the vehicle and start giving him verbal commands to show his hands. According to the subtitles on the video, the driver “bent forward at the waist” when they started giving him commands.
The subtitles say he then reached for the gun on his lap before police opened fire. In the video, you can see them discharging multiple rounds at the driver window.
In a statement posted in the video, the department said that “the public should be aware that the body cameras do not always reflect what the officer’s eyes see.” An earlier press release following the incident said the officers were “fearing for their safety” when they opened fire.
A total of six officers fired at McCoy, killing him. They were identified as Officers Ryan McMahon, Collin Eaton, Jordan Patzer, Mark Thompson, Anthony Romero-Cano and Bryan Glick. All six have returned to duty. McMahon was also involved in a previous fatal shooting last year.
The video was part of a comprehensive compilation of information posted on a city web page, including separate video commentary from the Vallejo police chief, a Q&A section and information about fatal-incident protocol.
McCoy’s cousin claims his armed cousin was just a poor victim.
“I’m glad the video was released so everyone can see it,” Dave Harrison, McCoy’s cousin, told reporters. “Willie was a sitting duck in that car. He was asleep.”
Attorneys for the family said the rapper was shot 25 times and have filed a wrongful-death claim against the city of Vallejo.
Conveniently ignoring the fact that the vehicle was locked, John Burris, the attorney for the family, says the officers didn’t come up with a plan to safely remove McCoy from the car.
“Nothing in that video warranted those officers shooting Willie McCoy dozens of times,” Burris said.