Vallejo vigil honors 3 black men killed by police

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Family and community members held a "Fight For Our Lives" rally and vigil to remember three black men who were shot and killed in separate incidents in Vallejo by police. All three families are filing lawsuits.

"We are tired of police brutality in the community and not being able to do anything about it lawfully," says Damariee Cole, the nephew of Willie McCoy.

RELATED: Community outraged after man shot, killed by police at Taco Bell drive-thru in Vallejo

Last February, McCoy fell asleep late at night while in the drive-thru at a Vallejo Taco Bell, located in the 900 block of Admiral Callaghan Lane (which is now a Starbucks). When police arrived on scene, one officer allegedly thought McCoy had a gun in his lap and police allegedly fired at him 55 times. Cole believes police had other options.

"What's the protocol when it's a bomb? Do you go approach the car, or do you stand back and use other tactics?" says Cole.

Well-known civil rights attorney John Buriss is representing the family. He is demanding that the Solano County District Attorney file charges against the six officers involved in the shooting. They are also suing the Vallejo Police Department.

"Given that he was shot 55 times, while essentially asleep, and he was awakened and then shot, that seems that that represents murder," says Buriss. "Part of that case, we are alleging a pattern and history of condoning police misconduct and police shootings."

The vigil also honored two other men, Eric Reason and Ronell Foster.

According to Buriss, Reason was shot in the back and the back of the head by off-duty Richmond Police Sergeant Virgil Thoma in the city of Vallejo, in November of 2019, and a Vallejo police officer shot Foster in the back of the head in February of 2018.

Attorney Melissa Nold says one of the goals of the lawsuit is to bring about a change they haven't been able to get in the past

"It is pretty clear to us, looking at these videos, that crimes have occurred," says Nold. "In the past, the victim's families have been intimidated, ran out of town. That's not going to work this time. Because we are not going to go away."

McCoy's family says they were told that the investigation is on-going.

The Vallejo Police Department and the Solano County District Attorney's office did not return requests for comment.
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