VALLEJO – The families of relatives killed by law enforcement will rally at the California State Capitol on Tuesday to demand police reform, according to a press release from local civil rights attorney Melissa Nold on behalf of the impacted families.
The rally will also mark the second anniversary of six Vallejo police officers fatally shooting Willie McCoy, who was asleep in his car outside a Vallejo Taco Bell.
Those in attendance will include members of the Willie McCoy Foundation, Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, Lisa Simpson, mother of Richard Risher, and the family of Mario Romero, the 23-year-old man shot and killed by Vallejo police in 2012. Nold and fellow civil rights attorney Adante Pointer will also be in attendance.
The families will demand that Attorney General Xavier Becerra immediately open a criminal investigation into a badge bending scandal which rocked the Vallejo Police Department last summer.
“The rally marks the two-year anniversary of my brother’s murder and we will not stop
until the corrupt Vallejo Police Department roots out every officer and command staff member that was involved in the badge bending ritual and subsequent coverup,” said Kori McCoy, brother of Willie McCoy and co-founder of the Willie McCoy Foundation, in the same news release.
The independent newsroom Open Vallejo reported in July 2020 that Vallejo officers bent the tips of their star-shaped badges following their involvement in fatal shootings.
McCoy’s family is also demanding that the six involved officers be charged with murder.
In January, a special prosecutor determined the officers were “legally justified,” when they shot and killed McCoy.
Michael Ramos declined to bring charges against officers Anthony Cano, Ryan McMahon, Collin Eaton, Bryan Glick, Jordon Patzer, and Mark Thompson, stating each officers’ use of force was “a proper exercise of his right of self-defense and defense of others…,” according to Ramos’ 16-page report.
Ramos was hired to conduct the investigation by Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams, citing a lack of public trust with her office.
In addition, the impacted families will demand the passage of a state law which would require statewide oversight for all officer-involved shootings, along with legislation that would stipulate all law enforcement agencies must provide body-worn cameras to their officers.
Finally, the group is asking that all elected officials in the state agree to reject campaign donations from police unions and law enforcement organizations.
Romero was shot and killed during the early morning hours of Sept. 2, 2012 by then-Vallejo police officers Dustin Joseph and Sean Kenney as he sat in his car outside his sister’s home.
“The City of Vallejo promised to get the Attorney General’s Office involved way back then, but it never happened. At the time of Mario’s death, Attorney General Kamala Harris failed to intervene and the Vallejo PD murder spree continued unchecked,” the family said in the same press release. “If Kamala Harris would have done her job in 2012, Willie and many others would still be alive right now!”
In attendance will be the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy was shot and killed by a Cleveland, Ohio police officer on Nov. 22, 2014. Rice was playing with a replica toy gun in a park when police arrived, shooting Rice almost immediately.
Lisa Simpson will represent her 18-year-old son, Richard Risher, who was shot and killed by Los Angeles police in July 2016
“It is time for mothers, fathers and loved ones to take back our fight for justice. We are the impacted families and its time for us to get real justice,” Simpson said in the new release.
The rally will begin at noon, at the California State Capitol, 1315 10th St., Sacramento.
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John Glidden worked as a journalist covering the city of Vallejo for more than 10 years. He left journalism in 2023 and currently works in the office of Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown.
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