The embattled and trigger-happy Vallejo Police Department — which is now the subject of an investigation by the California Attorney General in addition having calls by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the FBI to step in with its own investigation — is moving to terminate one officer implicated in the February 2019 fatal shooting of Willie McCoy. Only the reason for the firing is not because McCoy is dead.
Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams issued a notice of intention to terminate Officer Ryan McMahon back in March of this year, more than a year after the shooting of McCoy, as we are now learning. And as KTVU reports, this revelation comes as the department released more body-cam and cell-phone footage of the incident, in which officers fired 55 times on McCoy, who had passed out while behind the wheel of his car in a Taco Bell parking lot, with a loaded gun in his lap.
A year earlier, McMahon was also responsible for the fatal shooting of Ronell Foster, in February 2018.
The reason for McMahon's termination, Williams said in a memo, had less to do with any use of force against a citizen, and more to do with conduct that could have endangered another officer.
"The tactics you employed by running and shooting from a rearward position into the forward line of fire where officers were already engaged with the suspect, without communicating with Officer Glick, was dangerous,” Williams wrote. “Your conduct endangered fellow officers and violated safety norms of firearms handling when you chose to run with your weapon out and extended, with Officer Glick in front of you in your cone of fire."
As the Chronicle reports, an internal affairs investigation concluded that McMahon had exhibited "Unsatisfactory work performance including, but not limited to, failure, incompetence." But there was nothing to criticize the handling of a situation that did not need to end in gunfire — McCoy did not raise a weapon at officers, and was groggily coming to as they screamed at him to show his hands and then fired 55 rounds into the car within 3.5 seconds.
As of now, McMahon remains on paid administrative leave.
Another officer-involved shooting in Vallejo that occurred more recently, just after midnight on June 2, took the life of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa of San Francisco.
The police released some body-cam footage from the incident last month, however none of it reveals the position on the ground that officers claim Monterrosa was in. Monterrosa was unarmed save for a hammer in his waistband. And while initial reports indicated he was on his knees with hands raised as police vehicles arrived at the Walgreens parking lot where he was killed, Chief Williams changed his description last month to say that Monterrosa was "in a crouching-down, half kneeling position, as if in preparation to shoot."
Monterrosa's family and their attorneys are demanding more footage be released, and as of Thursday morning they have filed a wrongful death suit in federal court. As the Chronicle reports, the federal complaint describes the shooting as "brutal, malicious, and done without just provocation or cause."
The suit names both the city of Vallejo and Police Officer Jarrett Tonn, who has now been identified as the officer who fired a high-powered rifle through the windshield of a police vehicle at Monterrosa.
It has since come to light that Vallejo officers have allegedly engaged in the vile, gang-like practice of commemorating fatal shootings with backyard BBQ's and the bending of the points of their star-shaped badges. And the Monterrosas' lawsuit further claims that the department, "condoned, encouraged and/or tacitly authorized the continuing pattern and practice of misconduct and/or civil rights violations by Vallejo Police Department officers."