Vallejo, CA — In the land of the free, police can and will detain and extort you for improper bicycle lighting. If you try to escape this extortion, you can be mowed down by a police cruiser, mauled by a police K9, or, as the following incident illustrates, you may even die. Because cops are never held accountable for their actions, the officer who killed Ronell Foster, 33, was never fired and the taxpayers were held liable instead — to the tune of $5.7 million.
On the evening of Feb. 13, 2018, Foster had harmed no one, was not committing a crime and was simply riding his bicycle in downtown Vallejo. However, because he didn’t have the proper light on his bicycle, he was pursued by Vallejo police officer Ryan McMahon, who told investigators that he stopped Foster in order to “educate the public on the dangers that this person was creating for himself and the traffic on Sonoma Boulevard,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.
This act of “education” turned out to actually be an act of execution.
Despite pursuing Foster for several blocks, McMahon did not activate his body camera until after he killed Foster. However, the camera saves 30 seconds before the officer activates it so the shooting was captured on video.
As the body camera footage begins, Foster is lying on his back as McMahon shoots him at point blank range with his taser. He then appears to holster the taser and opts for his flashlight instead. McMahon then seems to strike Foster several times with the flashlight. Not wanting to die from being beaten to death by a cop’s flashlight over a bicycle infraction, Foster grabs the light.
At this point, McMahon claims that he feared for his life and had no other choice but to put a bullet in the back of Foster’s head for grabbing the flashlight, killing him.
After Foster was shot in the back of the head and killed, police released body cam footage which was highly edited in an attempt to justify the shooting, which they later did. However, when considering that Foster was pursued by the officer, tackled to the ground and shot in the back of the head over a minuscule infraction for a bicycle light, the idea of justifying this act is as asinine as it is criminal.
Because McMahon claimed he feared for his life after Foster took the flashlight he was beating him with, McMahon was cleared after Vallejo police investigated themselves. The family then had to use civil court to go after their beloved family member’s killer.
The Foster family is “happy the truth has finally come out,” Adanté Pointer, a lawyer for the family, said pointing out that a civil lawsuit is not actual justice.
“Ronell did not deserve to die,” Pointer said. “True justice would be to see Officer McMahon walking into court as a criminal defendant.”
“What the family found most disturbing are the lies the city put out to justify his death when they knew the whole time Ronell’s death was not justified and the officer’s conduct flat-out wrong.”
Because no action was taken against McMahon for killing a man over a bicycle light stop, he was never fired, much less disciplined and went on to kill again the very next year. This time, his victim, Willie McCoy, an aspiring young rapper, would be shot and killed in his sleep by McMahon and several other trigger happy cops.
McCoy was an aspiring 20-year-old rapper whose life was brought to a tragic end in February 2019 — nearly an exact year after McMahon killed Ronell — when six police officers decided to publicly execute him as he slept in his car in the parking lot of a Taco Bell. After nearly six months, and body camera footage showing this execution, the city ruled the officers “acted reasonably” when they dumped 55 rounds into McCoy in 3.5 seconds.
Starting to see a pattern here?
As we are told how these “poor cops sacrifice to receive low wages and put themselves in harm’s way to protect us,” McMahon was receiving nearly a quarter of a million dollar annual salary ($219,433) to execute a sleeping rapper and a man on a bicycle.