Investigator says police were justified in firing 55 rounds at sleeping rapper

Photo via David Harrison, Willie McCoy’s manager and cousin

An independent investigator claims that police were justified in firing 55 rounds in 3.5 seconds at a Black man sleeping in his car.

David Blake, a former cop and investigator hired by the Vallejo Police Department, concluded that the police used “reasonable and necessary” force while shooting Willie McCoy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Officers are not required to wait until a weapon is pointed at them to take the necessary steps to save their own lives,” he wrote in his report.

On Feb 9, McCoy, a local Bay Area rapper, was shot after a Taco Bell employee called the police to report a man slumped over at the wheel of a silver Mercedes. Responding officers reportedly found McCoy unresponsive with a gun in his lap.

After viewing the bodycam video from one of the six officers on the scene that night, McCoy’s family says the rising rapper was killed by police while sleeping.

When police arrived, they blocked his car by parking a patrol car in front of the vehicle and another behind it. Without attempting to wake him, six police officers began firing shots inside of McCoy’s vehicle. He was reportedly shot 25 times in the face, throat and upper body.

Police claim that McCoy made a sudden movement, and they feared for their safety.

Although the new evidence should help to move the criminal case against the officers forward, police in California have mostly gotten away with murder when it comes to shooting unarmed Black people.

Police who were involved in the shooting death of Stephon Clark in Sacramento did not face criminal charges. In March 2018, Clark, 22, was shot and killed while running into his grandmother’s backyard. Clark had a cellular phone in his hand that the officers claim they mistook for a gun.

On March 12, a federal judge urged attorneys to settle the Clark family’s multimillion-dollar civil rights lawsuit against the City of Sacramento and the two police officers who shot and killed him.


A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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