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The Vallejo Cop Controversy: Whistleblowers Expose a Secret Club of Killers

According to an independent report of an incident in Vallejo, California, where officers opened fire on a man who had nodded off in a Taco Bell drive-thru, a barrage of 55 bullets in less than four seconds was “objectively reasonable and necessary.”

The February 9, 2019, incident began with a call for a wellness check on a man who was unresponsive in the driver’s seat of his Mercedes. The man, identified as 20-year-old Bay Area rapper Willie McCoy, was surrounded by six cops with their weapons drawn after one saw a gun in his lap. Bodycam video appeared to show McCoy returning to consciousness, first itching his arm before jerking up in the seat. Cops yelled at him to put up his hands seconds before opening fire.

McCoy’s family said he was struck by about 25 of the 55 shots. He died at the scene.

The independent report, authored by retired officer David Blake, called the cops’ actions “reasonable based upon my training and experience as a range instructor as well as through applied human factors psychology.”

NBC News found the city of Vallejo had contracted with Blake for up to $8,000 to offer his analysis. Blake had performed the same service for the Sacramento Police Department following the 2018 shooting of Stephon Clark. Neither of the cops involved was charged in that shooting.

Violence in the Vallejo Police Department has proved costly. Whistleblowers have come forward to cast light on a secret rite where cops would have a point on their badge bent each time they took part in a fatal shooting. Only those who were believed to be capable of keeping their mouths shut about the killer club were initiated, techdirt.com reported.

Over the past decade, the Vallejo Police Department has run up a tab of $16 million on local taxpayers in lawsuits. That may sound like peanuts in comparison to big cities, but it amounts to the highest cost per cop in the U.S. The city has another two dozen cases pending stemming from police abuses claims that could total another $50 million in costs.

Nationwide, 27% of police have reported firing their weapons on the job. In Vallejo, that number is almost 40%—a sum of violence that no city can afford. 

 

Source: NBC News, techdirt.com

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