Vallejo, California police finally released footage from the shooting death of local rapper, 20-year-old Willie McCoy, who was killed by officers after falling asleep in his car in a Taco Bell drive-thru.
In a press release, the police department called the video “informational” adding that it hopes that it “provided sufficient context for the community to understand the facts of this incident.”
Police have long maintained that McCoy, known locally as Willie Bo, woke up and reached for a handgun in his lap when six officers “feared for their lives” and opened fire at the vehicle, firing multiple rounds within four seconds.
Meanwhile, McCoy’s family has insisted that he was killed in his sleep, having never been given a chance to understand and obey any orders.
“They killed him in his sleep,” David Harrison, McCoy’s cousin and manager, who saw the footage prior to its public release, insisted in mid-March. “He scratched his arm in his sleep … And they murdered him. There is no justification.”
The 30-minute footage provided, which includes audio and footage from each of the six officers’ body cameras, show McCoy moving sluggishly as he appears to start to rouse before cops open fire.
At around 9:00 into the video, the footage appears to slow down as audio goes silent, showing McCoy scratching his arm, apparently in his sleep.
Police annotated the video noting “Driver moves his right arm to
“Driver then bends forward at
Then the video moves on to the area where officers claim that McCoy’s “
A green arrow shows McCoy’s shoulder (his hands are not visible in the footage) drop slightly before audio turns back on and officers can be heard screaming before the rapid gunfire erupts, shattering the driver’s side windows and ultimately killing the young man.
In fact, none of the angles show him at any point reaching for the gun that was present, although police were sure to state that the cameras do not always capture what the eyes see.
“First, the camera can be up to 12 inches lower down the officer’s body than their eyes, impacting the visual angles of what the officer may see versus what the camera may see,” according to the statement. “Second, while the camera stays fixed pointing forward on the officer’s body, the officer can be looking around with their eyes or turn their head.
“Therefore, body cameras show you what is going on generally. They do not show you what the officer is seeing or responding to directly,” the statement added.
The footage does not include more graphic footage of officers attempts to give McCoy first aid, as, according to the press release “to respect the privacy of the decedent and his family.”
“It is also important to understand that the incident remains under investigation in
accordance with the Solano County Fatal Incident Protocol and additional details around
the event are still being explored,” the release adds. “Once the investigation is complete, the Solano County District Attorney’s Office will make their final determination.”
The officers, identified as Ryan McMahon, Colin Eaton, Bryan Glick, Jordon Patzer, Anthony Romero-Cano and Mark Thompson, were placed on leave following the shooting, but have since returned to regular duty after meeting with a psychologist.
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.