A report compiled by a company the Vallejo Police Department hired determined that it was “reasonable” for authorities to fire 55 shots on a man who was found asleep with a gun in his lap in the drive-thru of a Vallejo, California, Taco Bell in February.
The report, which the Blake Consulting & Training conducted in May, was released last week and states that Willie McCoy was shot at 55 times in the span of 3.5 seconds by six police officers with the department. It is not clear how many of those shots struck McCoy, but his family’s lawyer previously said he was hit 25 times. The shooting occurred moments after he woke up in the car, which was still running.
The report, written by Blake Consulting & Training’s owner David Blake, says the police consultant and retired officer finds “the use of deadly force in this case to be reasonable and in line with contemporary training and police practices associated with use of deadly force.”
Citing legal rulings, video footage from the police body cams that were released in March and interviews with responding officers, Blake’s report stated “the officers on scene at this incident had reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause to detain or arrest McCoy.” He based that finding on the 20-year-old’s alleged violations, including driving under the influence and resisting a peace officer. Additionally, Blake wrote Officer Colin Eaton, who shot McCoy 13 times according to the report, “had probable cause to believe McCoy posed an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to himself as well as other officers on the scene.
“His use of deadly force was objectively reasonable and necessary based upon the totality of circumstances known to him,” continued, stating such circumstances included the gun resting on McCoy’s lap.
The report determined all six officers who shot at McCoy had probable cause.
However, according to McCoy’s family’s lawyer, the report is especially irrelevant given that the same firm determined authorities had probable cause in the case of Stephon Clark. Clark was a San Francisco man who police shot and killed in the yard of his grandparent’s home in 2018.
“It only means to me that local police agencies have found a person they can count on to support their position,” said attorney John Burris to USA Today June 13.
Claudia Quintana, City Attorney for Vallejo, told the newspaper that the report is not expected to influence probes conducted by the Vallejo Police Department or Solano County District Attorney’s Office. She said the report was prepared in anticipation of a civil lawsuit.
At a news conference the same day the body camera footage was released in March, Burris said there are plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the six officers involved in the shooting as well as the Vallejo Police Department.