The family of Californian rapper Willie McCoy are alleging racial profiling after the 20-year-old was shot dead by police while sleeping in his car.
In a truly what-the-fuck series of events, police in Vallejo, north of San Francisco, reportedly approached McCoy, whose rapper name was Willie Bo, after Taco Bell employees called 911 to report a man “slumped over” in the driver’s seat of a car outside the restaurant.
Police said McCoy had a handgun on his lap and was unresponsive, with the car doors locked and the car on. After they called for backup, however, the cops say he “suddenly” moved, and although they allege they told him to “keep his hands visible“, he “quickly moved his hands downward for the firearm“.
Six officers then fired shots at McCoy. The police have not revealed how many bullets hit the man. He died at the scene.
So, let’s just get things straight: a guy is asleep in his car with the engine on and a gun on his lap. Seems weird. Police are called to the scene. The man is still asleep. They call for backup??? The man wakes up, jerks his hands, and the six police officers, out of “fear for their own safety“, all shoot him.
What the actual fuck.
According to the Guardian, McCoy’s death comes after a number of scandals over police treatment of black people in Vallejo. Several videos of apparent brutality have gone viral, and McCoy’s family say his death is just another instance of police profiling.
David Harrison, McCoy’s cousin, told the Guardian:
No one trusts the police in Vallejo. 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.
McCoy’s family say the young man was passionate about his music, and that they are distraught in the wake of his death. They say that the police officers who shot him should face criminal charges.
A similar case in 2015, when Oakland police shot and killed a man passed out in his car, ended with a US$1.2 million settlement awarded to his family.