Another huge settlement for the family of a victim shot by Vallejo police, or in this case the family of a victim shot 55 times by Vallejo police, as the city has agreed to pay $5 million to the family of Willie McCoy for his 2019 shooting.
The Vallejo Police Department has often been described as trigger-happy, but one case that really stands out is the fatal February 2019 shooting of 20-year-old Willie McCoy, whom officers shot 55 times. McCoy was passed out and unresponsive in his car at a Taco Bell drive-through, prompting employees to call 911. When police arrived, they saw a loaded .40 caliber handgun on McCoy’s lap, and once he began to move, they unloaded those 55 shots at him. While that certainly sounds excessive, a special prosecutor declined to file charges against the officers in January 2021.
But that was not the end of this saga. KTVU now reports that the City of Vallejo has agreed to pay a $5 million settlement to McCoy’s family over the matter.
We will continue to work to ensure that Willie’s murderers and other Vallejo PD badge benders are fully investigated and prosecuted under federal law.— Melissa Nold, Esq. (@savage_esquire) January 10, 2024
Chapter II https://t.co/QB3YfJyC6S
"Money is not justice when someone has been murdered," the family’s attorney Melissa Nold told KTVU. In the above post on Twitter/X, she added, "We will continue to work to ensure that Willie’s murderers and other Vallejo PD badge benders are fully investigated and prosecuted under federal law."
About that "badge benders" charge: Nold is referring to a scandal that came to light in 2020, but apparently had been happening for years, where Vallejo PD officers bent corners of their star-shaped badges to celebrate fatal shootings of civilians. (Per the original report from the news site Open Vallejo, officers celebrated such shootings with “with beers, backyard barbecues, and by bending the points of their badges each time they kill in the line of duty.”)
That revelation was prompted by the shooting of McCoy, and the former Vallejo police captain who blew the whistle on that practice himself received a $900,000 settlement this past September, claiming he was fired in retaliation for speaking up.
One of the officers involved in McCoy’s shooting was fired in 2020, though that firing was ascribed to allegedly unsafe behavior toward other officers in another situation where he’d opened fire.
The $5 million settlement is indeed substantial, though it’s not the largest ever for a Vallejo police shooting. In September 2020, the family of Vallejo PD shooting victim Ronell Foster was awarded $5.7 million after the unarmed Foster was shot and killed in 2018 for the mere crime of riding his bike without a headlight. And a civil suit over the 2020 Vallejo police shooting of Sean Monterrossa is still making its way through the courts, as NBC Bay Area reported in August that the case was "currently in the discovery phase and depositions are being taken."
Image: Law Offices of John L. Burris