City of Vallejo to pay $5M lawsuit settlement to family of rapper killed by police, Willie McCoy

The City of Vallejo has agreed to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Willie McCoy, who was shot and killed by six Vallejo Police Department officers at a Taco Bell drive through in 2019. 

McCoy, a rapper, was 20 at the time of his death. Officers fired 55 shots in a matter of just 3.5 seconds at a sleeping McCoy, who was inside a silver Mercedes that was still in driving gear. 

A report found that the officers involved acted reasonably

"Money is not justice when someone has been murdered," family attorney Melissa Nold told KTVU. She continued to discuss the case on social media. "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." 

The Vallejo P.D. badge bending scandal came to light in 2020. It was a secretive practice where officers on the force would bend their badges after they shot and killed people while on duty. A former police captain who blew the whistle on this misconduct was awarded a $900,000 settlement from the city last fall

The site of the drive through where McCoy was killed is now a Starbucks. It has been the site of a vigil for McCoy in the past. His brother, Kori McCoy, previously said, he considers it to be sacred ground. 

On the night he was killed, Taco Bell employees called 911 to report an unresponsive male at the drive-through. The released body-camera footage shows officers who responded surrounding the driver's side of the vehicle. 

Officers alleged they saw a gun in McCoy's lap, although no gun was visible in the footage. When McCoy comes to, he scratches his shoulder, seemingly unaware of his surroundings. Officers unleash a barrage of bullets in a short span of time. Police claimed they suspected he was reaching for a weapon. 

When the City of Vallejo asked Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams to review the case, the D.A. recused herself and announced a special prosecutor would review the fatal shooting. She also expressed disappointment that then-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra had declined to review the case. 

No charges were filed against the officers involved in this case. Although one officer involved was fired for violating department policies and engaging in unsafe conduct during the shooting.

Despite having a stable early childhood with both his parents, McCoy lost them both to cancer by the age of 12. As a rapper, he touched on the subject of growing up without a father. 

In 2019, following the McCoy shooting, Shawny Williams took over as the department's chief of police. He abruptly resigned after three years on the job and a vote of no confidence from the police union.  The city manager then appointed Deputy Chief Jason Ta to serve as interim police chief. 

Last summer, the long-embroiled Vallejo P.D. declared a state of emergency due to a "critical police shortage." At the time, city documents showed only 34 officers, including supervisors who are available to patrol the entire city. 

KTVU's Henry K. Lee and Bay City News contributed to this report.