A 21-year-old man, Willie McCoy, was shot to death at a Taco Bell drive-thru on Saturday, February 6th. Apparently Mr. McCoy was asleep in his car in the drive thru lane and the Vallejo, California Police Department arrived to perform a welfare check. Upon arrival, they found Mr. McCoy in the locked car with the transmission in drive and a handgun on his lap. Police allege when they attempted to wake Mr. McCoy, he moved in a manner officers characterized as combative and six officers shot Mr. McCoy. Officers contend they were in fear for their lives. Family members argue all people are startled when they are jolted from sleep. The tape of the shooting circulating on the internet allows everyone to be the judge.
Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. In addition to the resources provided below, the deck contains discussion questions, an in-class activity, an online activity, and assessment questions.
Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Willie McCoy Shooting
Learning Objective 1: Explain the social construction of gun violence in the United States.
Learning Objective 2: Understand how social events have the ability to influence public sentiment about groups involved.
Gwendolyn Wu , Megan Cassidy, and Jill Tucker, “Over-reaction or unavoidable shooting in Vallejo? How police deal with an unconscious person with a gun” (San Francisco Chronicle, Text/Audio)
Sam Levin, “Six California officers fire shots at rapper who had been asleep in car, killing him” (The Guardian, Text)
Erik Ortiz, “California rapper sleeping in car killed by police who opened fire” (NBC News, Text/Video)
“Cops shot and killed a black rapper who’d been asleep in his car. Here’s what you need to know.” (Vice News, Text)
Jason Murdock, “California Rapper Shot Dead By Police at Taco Bell Drive-Thru” (Newsweek, Text/Video)
Aris Folley, “Six California police officers fatally shoot rapper found sleeping in car” (The Hill, Text/Video)
Ibn Safir, “Police Open Fire on Sleeping Black Man in Locked Car” (The Root, Text)