The family of Bay Area rapper Willie Bo (legally known as Willie McCoy), who viewed police footage of his February shooting death, are now saying video shows that the 20-year-old artist was not awake when officers started shooting him inside of his car.
According to the Guardian, McCoy’s family told the Guardian that the young rapper – who was found unresponsive slumped behind his vehicle wheel at a Taco Bell drive-through – seemed to move his hand while he was sleeping to scratch his shoulder just before the six Vallejo officers who were at the scene fired multiple rounds within four seconds into the vehicle.
“They killed him in his sleep,” David Harrison told the Guardian of the Feb. 9 shooting. “He scratched his arm in his sleep … And they murdered him. There is no justification.”
Vallejo officials allowed three family members to view the footage for the first time on Wednesday afternoon but prevented their lawyer from viewing it. No videos from the incident have been released to the public.
However, a Vallejo police spokesperson countered the family’s claiming, insisting that McCoy “was not sleeping during the entire incident.”
“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.” The spokesperson denied the Guardian’s request to view the video.
Prior to the shooting, an employee at the Taco Bell called the police to report a driver slumped over the driver’s seat of a silver Mercedes. Officers found McCoy unresponsive with a handgun in his lap. Police have insisted that McCoy suddenly moved and “fearing for their lives” shot and killed the young man.
However, as family have now seen the video, they are not sold on that story. Marc McCoy, Willie’s older brother, said that he didn’t see Willie eyes open before the shooting, and did not appear to be alert. His brother, Marc McCoy said, he may have moved just before he was killed, but at the same time, prior to the shooting officers did not appear to be bothered and did not seem to make any attempt to wake him up before his hand moved.
“They never looked threatened. They never feared for their lives … There was never any attempt to resolve this in a peaceful way.”
The family said that officers were heard telling each other that the gun Willie McCoy had in his possession did not have a clip in it, meaning it had, at the most, one bullet in the chamber, if it was loaded at all.
Willie was still asleep when one officer apparently told a colleague “If he moves…you know what to do,” before gesturing his hand in some sort of signal.
“There was no way Willie was leaving there that day, period. He wasn’t going to leave alive. They made their minds up,” Harrison added.
“They did not de-escalate. They caused violence,” Marc McCoy said.
A legal claim filed by the family earlier this month called the six officers a “six person firing squad,” accusing officers of failing to plan in order to ensure the saftey of everyone.
The family said police officials told them that the shooting was justified, and the officers involved were back on duty.
Harrison asked if the officers were drug tested after the shooting. Officials claimed that the department didn’t do that.
“I understand why they don’t want attorneys to see it and why they don’t want to release it to the public,” Harrison reiterated. “It did not look like someone was scared for their lives … They had intentions to kill Willie, that’s what I’ve seen in that video.”