Family members of a rap musician are speaking out after six California police officers allegedly fatally shot the young Black man as he slept in his car.
Willie McCoy, 20, was sleeping in his car at a local Taco Bell in Vallejo, California when officers fired multiple rounds at him, police said, per The Guardian. According to the police department, there was a handgun in the young man’s lap when they fired “out of fear for their own safety” Saturday night.
Family members say that there was no justification in shooting McCoy, whose rapper name was Willie Bo since he was asleep in his car. And on Tuesday, his family members said this is a case of racial profiling.
“There was no attempt to try to work out a peaceful solution,” Willie’s older brother 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.”
The Hill reports that police were called to the scene after a Taco Bell employee found a driver slumped over in his car. Officials say the car was in the drive-through lane. Police told The San Francisco Chronicle that McCoy was unresponsive and that the handgun was in his lap. As they were checking on him he moved.
Police allege that he was told to “keep his hands visible” but said, “he quickly moved his hands downward for the firearm.” All six officers fired shots within a span of four seconds, officials said without disclosing how many shots had been fired.
The young man died at the scene. His family is left with sorrow and painful truths.
Marc McCoy says he thinks police startled his brother awake during the tragedy. He says he wishes they would have ordered Willie out of the vehicle instead of shooting him.
“Police are trained to shoot first and hurt you first,” he told the Guardian. “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.”
And indeed, McCoy’s death follows numerous scandals that have involved alleged police brutality against African-American residents in this city, which is about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. One 2017 video showed a Vallejo police officer holding a man on the ground and striking him repeatedly in the face. Another particularly shocking video went viral last year after it showed an officer violently striking a man with what appeared to be a flashlight or a baton. Then in January a man who’s a former Marine alleged a Vallejo police officer assaulted him while he filmed the arrest of his cousin.
“No one trusts the police in Vallejo,” said Willie’s cousin, David Harrison. “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.”
They are calling for the officers involved to be prosecuted.
“We cannot fathom why they would have to shoot him,” Harrison said. “This was senseless … shooting a man sleeping in his car. We want to make sure this never happens again to another person.”
Because it’s already happened far too many times.
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