A 20-year-old aspiring rapper who had fallen asleep in his car at a Taco Bell in California was shot dead by police at the weekend, in a case likely to reignite questions over police brutality in America.
According to KTVU, a total of six officers opened fire on the sleeping victim who had a handgun on his lap and has been named by his family as Willie McCoy.
His cousin Levonte Cole said: “Willie was a good person, he didn’t deserve that. I have no words for Vallejo police. They’re supposed to protect and serve. They’re not supposed to shoot to kill.”
A statement from Vallejo Police said officers had been called to the fast food restaurant by an employee who reported that a silver Mercedes was parked in the drive-through line and that the driver was slumped over the wheel.
On arrival, they noted: “The adult male driver was unresponsive, and that he had a handgun on his lap.”
It added: “The driver… suddenly began to move. The officers told the driver to keep his hands visible, however the driver quickly reached for the handgun on his lap. In fear for their own safety, the officers discharged their weapons at the driver.”
McCoy’s older brother Marc told The Guardian be believed police had startled Willie awake and should have ordered him out of the car with a loudspeaker, instead of approaching him and shooting him.
He said: “There was no attempt to try to work out a peaceful solution… Police are trained to shoot first and hurt you first. They do not respect black people… That is just accepted in America.”
The incident is being investigated and Vallejo Police is urging witnesses to come forward.