Six Vallejo, California police officers responded to a call on February 9 about a man named Willie McCoy who was sleeping in his car. Two patrol cars arrived at the scene around 10:30 p.m., and when the officers examined the car, they reportedly saw a handgun in the driver’s lap and immediately called for backup.
Although the officers discussed attempting to remove the gun from the driver, they realized the doors were locked and the car was reportedly in drive. Another patrol car later arrived on the scene and was positioned in front of McCoy’s car "to prevent forward or erratic movement," according to police.
When another car arrived to block the rear of McCoy’s vehicle, he woke up and allegedly scratched his left shoulder.
Police claim McCoy was given "several commands" to put his hands up, but he allegedly did not comply and "quickly" moved his hands down to the gun. And that’s when officers fired-off 55 shots in 3.5 seconds.
Now, an investigation by retired police officer David Blake claims the tactics used by the Vallejo Police Department on the 20-year-old were "reasonable based upon my training and experience as a range instructor as well as through applied human factors psychology." Blake also concluded the use of deadly force was "objectively reasonable and necessary" given the circumstances.
Melissa Nold, an attorney for the family, said in a statement, “This is an unconstitutional level of force… You want to ensure that this human being does not survive.” She also said, “Each bullet has to be justified,” and saying of Blake “He gets paid to defend police when they shoot people. We know who he is.”
The death of McCoy sparked outrage in the community and demands for police accountability and an independent investigation into the entire department’s training and alleged continual pattern of racial bias.
The independent report was completed on May 17, nearly two months after bodycam footage of the incident was released. It’s unclear how many bullets actually struck McCoy, but family attorneys claim he was hit around 25 times.
The six officers returned to duty three weeks after the tragic shooting.
Many on social media do not believe that the force used against Willie McCoy was “reasonable.” See their frustration below.
Vallejo police fired at Willie McCoy 55 times in 3.5 seconds. The city's "expert" consultant concluded this was "reasonable". He was sleeping in his car https://t.co/inc0226MeM— Sam Levin (@SamTLevin) June 12, 2019
This is excessive but our typical justice system will find a way to make it valid.— WhoLeeOh (@JulioB561) June 14, 2019
Police found 20-year-old Willie McCoy sleeping in his own car & proceeded to murder him by shooting him 55 times in 3.5 seconds.— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) June 14, 2019
55X In 3.5 Sec!
Vallejo City attorney has filed a report calling the murder “reasonable.”😳
No—This is a Modern day lynchinghttps://t.co/J3tq0NGI1x
A 20 year old black man was sleeping in his car. Police executed him by firing squad, shooting 55 times. They paid an "expert" to investigate, who found the police conduct reasonable. The "expert" is a retired cop. https://t.co/8vohiD7p4X— Peter (@shadowfuzz) June 13, 2019
Vallejo hired David Blake for $8,000 to provide a 51-page report on deadly use-of-force by six Vallejo police ofc. The six shot 55 rounds in 3.5 seconds the night of Feb. 9, killing Willie McCoy. Date of hire: April 2, four days after city releases body camera footage of incident pic.twitter.com/p8Lk7qTC82— John Glidden (@glid24) June 11, 2019
Police fired 55 shots at man sleeping in his car in 3.5 seconds. Report finds it "reasonable."— Mike Crowley (@MichaelFCrowley) June 14, 2019
Police were investigating a black man sleeping in his car when he jerked awake. They shot him to death instantly. It’s unreasonable & criminal.https://t.co/QrG5tYBIcs via @nbcnews
Photo: NBC News