Vallejo, CA — Willie McCoy was an aspiring 20-year-old rapper whose life was brought to a tragic end in February when six police officers decided to kill him as he slept in his car in the parking lot of a Taco Bell. Now, after nearly two months, police have released the body camera showing this execution.
As the SF Chronicle notes, in a rare move, the department released not only raw footage of the incident, but also edited takes of the shooting, 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.
“It is our hope that we provided sufficient context for the community to understand the facts of this incident,” police said.
McCoy’s family said police edited the video to try and spin it to their official narrative. However, even with their edits, it shows little more than a premeditated death by firing squad.
“They’re being political now,” said Marc McCoy, Willie McCoy’s older brother. “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 six officers involved in the shooting were identified as Collin Eaton, Bryan Glick, Jordan Patzer, Anthony Romero-Cano, Mark Thompson and Ryan McMahon. They have all since returned to normal duty.
On February 9 at 10:30 p.m., an employee of Taco Bell called police to let them know a black man was sleeping in his car while waiting for food. McCoy, whose rapper name was Willie Bo was slumped over, asleep on the steering wheel when officers arrived.
McCoy posed no threat to the officers as he was asleep. However, he had a handgun in his lap. Because police don’t usually respect the second amendment rights of black men, instead of beeping the siren or using their loudspeaker to wake McCoy up, the responding officers called for backup.
As the video shows, and as the Guardian points out, there are several factors that show the incompetence and insanity involved in this shooting.
- The officers did not try to wake McCoy up or talk to him after they spotted a gun in his lap, and instead pointed their firearms at his head directly outside the car as he slept for several minutes.
- One officer said: “I’m going to pull him out and snatch his ass.”
- The officers then realized the firearm did not have a magazine in it, noting to each other that if it was loaded, it would have a single bullet in it: “He’s only got one shot if he shoots.”
- The officers then appeared to make a plan to fire at him, with one saying: “If he reaches or it, you know what to do.”
- McCoy eventually started to move, scratching his shoulder and not yet appearing alert or saying anything to officers, and several seconds later, all six officers fired at him.
Jesus Christ, this video is horrifying. It's a straight-up execution. One of these cops also previously shot another unarmed man, and is currently the target of a separate brutality lawsuit. https://t.co/kzvgCQeq4G
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) March 30, 2019
As McCoy was completely surrounded by police, instead of simply waiting for him to wake up, officers opened fire when McCoy began moving. According to the Vallejo police department, officers opened fire, alleging McCoy did not respond when they told him to “keep his hands visible.” But he had no time to even do that.
“The officers told the driver to keep his hands visible, however the driver quickly reached for the handgun on his lap,” police said in a statement. “In fear for their own safety, the officers discharged their weapons at the driver.”
Watch the video below and see how six cops surrounding a sleeping black man “fear for their safety.”
WATCH/CAUTION: Vallejo Police release bodycam video of 20-year-old rapper Willie McCoy shot and killed by officers Feb 9. He was asleep at Taco Bell drive-thru with gun on his lap. Family holding news conference soon, say police bungled operation from start to finish. #ABC7now pic.twitter.com/zqoUboX3Lh
— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) March 29, 2019
To justify the sadistic murder caught on video, police released the following statement with the video.
“When viewing the body camera footage, the public should be aware that body cameras do not always reflect what the officer’s eyes see,” police said.
“I am shocked and outraged, as much as one can be by the manner the Vallejo PD executed Willie McCoy,” said the family’s attorney John Burris after the video was released. “The number of shots that were fired was well over 20 by at least three or four different officers.
“I don’t see what he did in order to justify the shooting,” Burris told The Chronicle. “It did not look like he was ever conscious in a real way.”
At least 25 shots hit Willie, and the execution-style shooting from all the cops was enough to instantly kill him. In the image below, at least 24 bullet holes are visible from two points of fire. Even after they killed him, police continued to shout commands at the unresponsive corpse they had just created.
“There was no attempt to try to work out a peaceful solution,” Marc McCoy told the Guardian. “The police’s job is to arrest people who are breaking the law – not take the law into your own hands. You’re not judge, jury and executioner … We’re never going to get over this.”
The Vallejo police department, as well as other departments in the region, have such a bad name that the black community actually feels like they are being hunted.
“No one trusts the police in Vallejo,” said David Harrison, McCoy’s cousin. “We are being targeted … Police have a campaign of executing young black men who fit a certain profile. Willie dressed the part. He represents hip-hop music. They are profiled.”
Indeed, the idea that a sleeping man, who was likely just trying to get some food at Taco Bell, would suddenly wake up and begin firing at police is ridiculous. However, cops in the area have a sinister history when it comes to killing people in their sleep. In fact, McCoy’s death is one of at least three recent police killings in the area in which the victims were asleep.
Also, as TFTP reported at the time, Demouria Hogg, 30, was found unconscious behind the wheel of his car on the morning of June 6, 2015. Forty minutes after police began a stand off with him, he would be shot and killed.
“Police are trained to shoot first and hurt you first,” Marc said. “They do not respect black people. Even when they have a person subdued and their life is not in danger, they continue to be blatantly physically disrespectful. That is just accepted in America.”
Below is the disturbing footage in its entirety.