The California police officers who killed Willie McCoy, a 20-year-old who had been sleeping in his car, fired 55 bullets at him in 3.5 seconds – which was “reasonable”, according to the city of Vallejo’s hired consultant.
Officials disclosed the extraordinary number of rounds in a report released this week, months after six policemen shot the aspiring rapper who had fallen asleep inside his car at a Taco Bell. The 9 February killing, which McCoy’s family has called an “execution by a firing squad”, sparked national outrage and has led to intense scrutiny of the Vallejo police department’s frequent use of deadly force and history of misconduct and abuse cases.
The 51-page report by David Blake, a paid “expert” and retired officer, concluded that the killing was “in line with contemporary training and police practices associated with use of deadly force”. He said “the 55 rounds fired by 6 officers in ~3.5 seconds is reasonable based upon my training and experience as a range instructor as well as through applied human factors psychology”.
Relatives of McCoy, a beloved Bay Area rapper whose career was on the rise at the time of his death, said they learned of the bullet count in news reports.
“What it says is there was never any real intention of trying to work out this situation to where my brother’s life would still be intact,” Marc McCoy, Willie’s older brother, told the Guardian on Wednesday, adding that many in the US had become numb to this level of police brutality: “Our community is so used to this type of violence.”
The six officers surrounded McCoy’s car with guns drawn after a Taco Bell employee called police to report a man unresponsive in his car in the drive-thru. The police department in the city, 30 miles north-east of San Francisco, has insisted that the officers fired out of “fear for their own safety”, alleging that McCoy had reached for a gun on his lap.
SOURCE: Sam Levin, The Guardian