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Vallejo police officer involved fatal 2019 shooting of rapper Willie McCoy has been fired

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A California police officer involved in two fatal shootings in the past two years, including in the 2019 death of rapper Willie McCoy, has now been fired.

Vallejo Police Officer Ryan McMahon was issued a notice of termination by Chief Shawny Williams on Wednesday, following an internal investigation into the shooting of McCoy.

McMahon was one of six officers who fired 55 rounds in less than five seconds at the 20-year-old aspiring musician as he slept in his car in a Taco Bell drive-thru in February, 2019.

Vallejo PD had reportedly been seeking McMahon’s termination because other officers were in the way when he opened fire.

The department’s internal investigation ultimately concluded ‘among other things, that McMahon violated department policies by engaging in unsafe conduct and neglect for basic firearm safety during the incident.’

McMahon was also involved in another fatal shooting a year earlier in February, 2018, when he shot and killed father-of-two Ronell Foster, who was unarmed and on a bike, during a scuffle in an alleyway. The city recently settled a civil lawsuit with Foster’s family for $5.7 million. 

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Vallejo Police Officer Ryan McMahon was issued a notice of termination by Chief Shawny Williams on Wednesday, following an internal investigation into the shooting of Willie McCoy (seen right)

McMahon was one of six officers who fired 55 rounds in less than five seconds at the 20-year-old aspiring artist as he slept in his car in a Taco Bell drive-thru in February, 2019

In announcing McMahon’s firing, Chief Williams said that ‘any conduct outside the level of professionalism the city deserves will not be tolerated by the Vallejo Police Department.

‘I understand we have a long way to go in rebuilding the trust among the resident of Vallejo and I will continue to take the necessary steps to better serve this community.’

In a March letter to McMahon that was made public, Williams said McMahon endangered the lives of other police officers, neglected basic firearm safety and demonstrated ‘unsatisfactory work performance including, but not limited to, failure, incompetence,’ in connection with the McCoy incident 

McMahon is the first Vallejo officer to be disciplined for a policy violation during a shooting in at least a decade, according to ProPublica’s Scott Morris.  

In McCoy’s shooting, officers had been called to a Taco Bell on February 9, 2019, after McCoy reportedly fell asleep in the drive-thru lane with a gun on his lap. Officers claimed the aspiring performer awoke and made a sudden movement before they fired at him.

It took the six cops present just 3.5 seconds to fire 55 rounds at McCoy, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of his Mercedes-Benz. The 20-year-old died after being struck more than 20 times – including in the throat.

In bodycamera footage of the incident, one officer can be heard saying, ‘there’s a gun in his lap’ and he suggests ‘busting open the window’ with his gun pointed towards McCoy.

They claim three minutes later that: ‘He’s moving,’ with police subtitles saying that: ‘driver then bends forward at waist, verbal commands continue.’

Multiple shots are fired at McCoy ten minutes into the footage as the officer shouts at him to ‘cease fire’ and ‘let me see your hands.’

McCoy can be seen moving inside and several bullet holes are seen in the driver window and windscreen as they continue to shout ‘Show me your hands, put your hands up.’

McCoy was pulled out unconscious a short time later and was later pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation later determined that, despite the spray of bullets fired in such a short space of time, the shooting was ‘reasonable and in line with contemporary training and police practices’.

The reported stated: ‘Officers are not required to wait until a weapon is pointed at them to take the necessary steps to save their own lives.’

It took the six cops present just 3.5 seconds to fire 55 rounds at McCoy, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of his Mercedes-Benz. The 20-year-old died after being struck more than 20 times – including in the throat

McCoy was pulled out unconscious a short time later and was later pronounced dead at the scene

Almost exactly a year prior, on February 13, 2018, McMahon shot and killed 33-year-old Ronell Foster after attempting to stop him for allegedly riding a bicycle in an unsafe manner in the area of Marin Street.

McMahon reportedly drove after Foster after he failed to stop. Foster later crashed his bike and a foot pursuit ensued.

The officer then discharged his Taser at Foster, which had no effect. Foster tripped and fell, and then McMahon pushed him down some stairs.

Foster was on his back when McMahon held his Taser against Foster’s body and fired. Then, McMahon started hitting Foster with his flashlight.

McMahon told his superiors that Foster then took the flashlight from him, leaving him ‘fearing for his life’. Investigators later found the claim not to be true.

Foster took away the flashlight, and on his buttocks, tried to turn around and move away from McMahon when the officer fired the fatal shots that killed him.

McMahon did not activate his body camera until after he opened fire on the father-of-two. A buffer video captured 30 seconds before he activated the camera record moments before the shooting, but it didn’t record audio.

McMahon said he didn’t turn on his body camera until after the shooting because there was ‘a lot of stuff going on.’

‘Without even thinking about it, I had my firearm out,’ McMahon told an Internal Affairs investigator.

Almost exactly a year prior, on February 13, 2018, McMahon shot and killed 33-year-old Ronell Foster after attempting to stop him for allegedly riding a bicycle in an unsafe manner in the area of Marin Street

McMahon said he didn’t turn on his body camera until after the shooting because there was ‘a lot of stuff going on’. But a buffer video captured the 30 seconds prior, without audio

McMahon told his superiors that Foster then took the flashlight from him, leaving him ‘fearing for his life’. Investigators later found the claim not to be true 

McMahon was temporarily placed on paid administrative leave following the fatal shooting of Foster, but was later cleared to return to duty.

Last month, the City of Vallejo agreed to pay the family of Foster $5.7 million to settle a civil suit, but didn’t admit any liability for the killing.

The Foster family is ‘happy the truth has finally come out,’ Adanté Pointer, a lawyer for the family, said on September 4.

‘Ronell did not deserve to die,’ Pointer said. ‘True justice would be to see Officer McMahon walking into court as a criminal defendant.

‘What the family found most disturbing are the lies the city put out to justify his death when they knew the whole time Ronell’s death was not justified and the officer’s conduct flat-out wrong.’

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