An independent report ordered by Vallejo, California city officials concluded that 21-year-old rapper Willie McCoy was fatally shot 55 times within seconds by police officers who found him sleeping in his car in the February shooting.
The report, conducted by police consultant and former peace officer David Blake, found that the group of six police officers fired the rounds at McCoy in 3.5 seconds, reports USA Today.
McCoy had been found sleeping in his car outside of a local Taco Bell.
Police claim they found the rapper, also known as “Willie Bo,” sleeping in a drive-through lane with a handgun sitting in his lap.
An employee of the restaurant had called the police to report a driver slumped over in his car.
Police said that McCoy was initially unresponsive when they first made contact, but that he made a sudden movement as they were examining him.
They said that when they ordered McCoy to keep his hands visible. They allege he reached for his weapon, upon which time they discharged their own firearms “in fear for their own safety.”
Blake said in his report that he found the officers’ use of deadly force to be “reasonable and in line with contemporary training and police practices associated with use of deadly force.”
“Officers are not required to wait until a weapon is pointed at them to take the necessary steps to save their own lives,” Blake also wrote in the report.
He also added that the officers’ use of deadly force in the February shooting was “reasonable based upon my training and experience as a range instructor as well as through applied human factors psychology.”
The report’s findings were quickly dismissed by McCoy’s family, according to John Burris, an attorney representing the McCoy family.
“These officers used deathly force tactics,” Burris told USA Today. “They wake a man up and, before he has a chance to react, they shoot and kill him. That cannot be reasonable.”
Burris said he believed the report was irrelevant, particularly since the hired expert also deemed police had probable cause in the fatal 2018 shooting of Stephon Clark.
6 cops shot 55 rounds at Willie McCoy in the span of 3.5 seconds, shortly after he woke up in a Taco Bell drive-thru in Vallejo, CA. Police said the 20-year-old reached for a gun.
The officers' use of deadly force was "reasonable," according to a report commissioned by the city. pic.twitter.com/3bQfeSIsRY
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 14, 2019
“It only means to me that local police agencies have found a person they can count on to support their position,” Burris said.
His family said McCoy’s body was riddled with so many bullets he was unrecognizable.
— Anti Police-Terror (@APTPaction) June 12, 2019