Nearly two months after the fatal shooting death of a California rapper, local authorities released body camera footage of the incident.
Willie McCoy was fired upon 25 times, according to his family’s lawyer, as he was sleeping inside his car in the drive-thru of a Vallejo, California, Taco Bell. McCoy, whose stage name was Willie Bo, was snoozing with a gun on his lap, his foot on the brake and the engine running when authorities responded to a call saying a man was “slumped over” at the wheel.
On Friday, March 29, the Vallejo Police Department released footage from the moment the incident unfolded. The graphic 30-minute video shows the six officers assess the situation before they each fired into the vehicle. A previous statement said the officers were “fearing for their safety.”
The footage includes video from all six officers after primarily using the footage from the officer who has the “best field view to show what took place,” according to a statement attached to the beginning of the video.
It shows officers surrounding the car with their guns drawn as they try to open the doors (they’re locked) and noticing the car is in drive. McCoy is seen scratching his shoulder. Captions added to the video, which at this point is in slow motion, explain the officers gave the 20-year-old verbal commands to show his hands. As the driver moves forward, the captions say his left hand reached for the gun in his lap, however, the gun is not seen in the footage at any point. After that, officers shout and begin firing into the vehicle.
After the shooting stops, the officers continue demanding McCoy show his hands.
The video cuts off at the time the driver is pulled from the vehicle. McCoy was pronounced dead at the scene. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.
“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 accompanying press release states. “Once the investigation is complete, the Solano County District Attorney’s Office will make their final determination.”
At a Friday news conference, McCoy’s family lawyer, John Burris, showed reporters graphic images of McCoy’s body. The victim was shot in the face, throat, chest and arms. A portion of his ear was blown off in the process.
“He was shot to pieces,” Burris said. He also said there are plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the Vallejo Police Department.
“Willie was a sitting duck in that car. … They didn’t want to give him a chance,” the victim’s cousin, David Harrison, also said at a press conference.
McCoy’s brother, Marc McCoy, expressed doubt that the footage will lead to justice.
“There’s a thousand videos on YouTube that show police misconduct, whether it’s beatings of citizens or killing them,” McCoy’s 50-year-old brother told The Guardian the day the footage was released. “It gets dismissed. … The Vallejo police saw the video, and they don’t think there’s anything wrong with it or that the officers did anything criminal.”