After viewing police body camera footage, family members of a rapper who was shot and killed in a California Taco Bell drive-thru say the video shows that six cops opened fire while the man was still asleep.
The Guardian reports that the members of 20-year-old Willie McCoy’s family viewed police body camera recordings of the Feb. 9 incident when six Vallejo, Calif., officers shot the aspiring emcee with a barrage of bullets after claiming they acted out of “fear for their own safety.”
Around 10:30 on the night in question, a Taco Bell employee called 911 and informed an operator that there was a man slumped over in his car in the fast food restaurant’s drive-thru. Responding officers say they noticed a gun on McCoy’s lap and decided not to move his car. After determining that the doors to the vehicle were locked, officials say the sleeping rapper, known as “Willie Bo,” woke up and would not comply with their verbal commands to put his hands up. According to a press release, when McCoy started moving his hands towards the gun on his lap, police fired multiple rounds into the car, killing McCoy.
Not according to the family
“They killed him in his sleep,” said McCoy’s cousin David Harrison after watching the police footage. “He scratched his arm in his sleep … And they murdered him. There is no justification.”
Officials allowed McCoy’s family to watch the video on Wednesday but would not grant access to the family’s attorney, the public or the media. Willie’s older brother Mark also watched the footage and claims that not only did Willie never open his eyes but that the officers never attempted to wake him.
“They never looked threatened. They never feared for their lives” Mark told the Guardian. “There was never any attempt to resolve this in a peaceful way.”
Family members also say the video shows that cops were aware that Willie’s gun didn’t have a clip adding that one officer can be heard telling another officer: “If he moves …” and then gestured his head in a way that seemed to signal: “You know what to do.”
“There was no way Willie was leaving there that day, period. He wasn’t going to leave alive. They made their minds up,” Harrison said.
In an email, a police spokesperson maintained that Willie was not asleep “during the entire incident,” explaining: “He woke up on his own and sat up, reach [sic] for the handgun when the officers told him to show them his hands, then the officers fired.”
According to relatives, Willie was shot at least 25 times in the face, throat, chest and arms.
The family says they were told that the shooting was justified and that the officers are back on duty.