BTR News, Scotty Reid – Family members of Willie McCoy say that the young man was asleep in his car and never woke up when Vallejo Police opened fire on him at close range in a Taco Bell parking lot on February 9th in California. David Harrison, a cousin of the 20 yr old aspiring rapper Willie McCoy, was among family members who were allowed to watch body cam footage of six police officers who fired a multitude of rounds into the vehicle McCoy was asleep in and reportedly hit him more than 25 times. Harrison said that the cops murdered his cousin in his sleep.
“They killed him in his sleep,” said Harrison. “He scratched his arm in his sleep. And they murdered him. There is no justification.” according to a report from The Guardian.
Harrison believes the officers knew Willie wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot alive. He says one the officers said, “‘If he moves … ‘You know what to do.’”
“There was no way Willie was leaving there that day, period,” Harrison added. “He wasn’t going to leave alive. They made their minds up.”
Marc McCoy, Willie’s older brother, said that his little brother never opened his eyes and the police seemed to be pretty calm as they prepared to kill him.
“They never looked threatened. They never feared for their lives,” Marc said. “There was never any attempt to resolve this in a peaceful way.”
The police, however, are sticking to their version of events in which they say McCoy had a handgun in his lap and when awakened, ignored commands forcing all to open fire allegedly in fear for their lives and that of fellow officers. The Vallejo Police are resisting efforts to make the body cam footage public and seem to be following a common pattern of police administrators to withhold evidence from the public that might contradict the version of their officers.
Withholding the video from the public, especially in cases where the family wants it public and/or disputes its content, only stokes fears that the police have something to hide and leads to civil unrest that can be avoided with a policy of full transparency. California did amend state law with the passage of Assembly Bill 748 in 2018 which gives the public greater access to body cam footage and other audio or video acquired by law enforcement agencies in the state.
According to Issac Rosen of Best Best & Krieger LLP, a law firm with about 200 attorneys in 10 offices across California,
“The law mandates that audio and visual recordings of “critical incidents” resulting in either the discharge of a firearm by law enforcement or in death or great bodily injury to a person from the use of force by law enforcement are to be made publicly available under the PRA within 45 days of the incident, with limited exceptions.”
AB 748 does not go into effect until July 1, 2019. The bill was signed into law by the former governor Jerry Brown in September 2018. The Vallejo Police certainly could calm any fears that they have six murderers working for the department by releasing the video footage if it indeed does show their version of events. If they wait until they are compelled to do so under AB 748, they do so knowing that they are eroding public trust which is harder to come by these days.