Six Police Officers Shoot and Kill Willie McCoy, a Black Man Who Was Sleeping in His Car
In Vallejo, California, an area that has seen other high profile police violence cases in recent years, police shot dead a young black man named Willie McCoy who was sleeping in his car as officers surrounded him.
A group of six police officers in Vallejo, California, has shot a sleeping 20-year-old black man to death in his car on Saturday night. According to police, the slain musician, Willie McCoy, was sleeping in his car with a handgun on his lap. As officers began surrounding him, he stirred awake and, as the officers claim, he reached for his gun which prompted the officers to release a hail of bullets.
The incident occurred at a Taco Bell around 10:30 pm. Police responded to a 911 call from a Taco Bell employee about a man slumped over at the wheel in the fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru. Officers said McCoy was unresponsive and locked in his car with the engine running.
The police began surrounding his car with police vehicles to prevent McCoy from driving off. While doing so officers said McCoy stirred awake at which point officers began barking orders at McCoy to keep his hands visible. Then McCoy allegedly reached down for his firearm, as Vallejo police said in a public statement. The movement prompted six police officers to open fire and Willie McCoy died on the scene.
Watch the Vallejo police describe the incident below:
Family of Willie McCoy: You’re Not Judge, Jury and Executioner…We’re Never Going To Get Over This
McCoy’s family condemned the killing, saying the young man who was an aspiring rapper was racially profiled before being shot dead in his car while asleep. Marc McCoy, Willie McCoy’s 50-year-old brother, said it is unthinkable that the police would use deadly force against a sleeping individual who posed no threat whatsoever.
“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.”
McCoy said police should have ordered his brother out of the car with a bullhorn instead of approaching him and that he suspected the police startled his brother.
“Police are trained to shoot first and hurt you first,” McCoy 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.”
Willie McCoy’s cousin David Harrison said the Vallejo police are not trusted by the local community as the local police have a habit of shooting black residents.
“No one trusts the police in Vallejo,” said David Harrison to the Guardian. “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.”
This is not the first case of police brutality against black residents in Vallejo. In 2017, a police officer was filmed straddling a man on the ground and violently striking him in the face. In 2018, another officer was captured on video hitting a man with something like a baton or flashlight as he lay helplessly on the ground. And just last month, a Marine veteran reported that a Vallejo police officer attacked him for videoing the arrest of his cousin.
Willie McCoy’s Family Calls for Criminal Prosecution
Last year in nearby Oakland, four police officers shot a homeless man who was armed and sleeping in between two houses, forcing civil rights groups to file a lawsuit. And in 2015, a man who was passed out in his car was shot dead by the Oakland police when he suddenly woke up and allegedly reached for his gun. His family was awarded $1.2 million in compensation.
Willie McCoy was an aspiring rapper who performed under the name Willie Bo and who lost his parents at a tender age but devoted all his energies into music. He performed with the group FBG. His relatives said he lived for music and family. “If you needed a few dollars, he was there,” Harrison told the Guardian. “If you needed a ride, he was there.”
Harrison said Willie’s extended family find it hard coming to terms with his killing, locking up themselves in the house and crying inconsolably. He said the family wants to ensure such killing never happens to another person in the state; and that the six policemen should face criminal prosecution.