Groups protest po­lice shoot­ings

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Bam­mer rbam­mer@there­ @REBam­mer on Twit­ter

Some of the an­guished cries in uni­son, among them “No jus­tice, no peace” and “What do we want? Jus­tice! When do we want it? Now!” and the signs, “Black Lives Mat­ter,” for one, seemed fa­mil­iar.

Af­ter all, the tele­vised fa­tal shoot­ings of young black men and boys, un­armed, armed or seem­ingly armed, at the hands of po­lice are cer­tainly the stuff of nearevery­day head­lines in Amer­ica and, from time to time, the Bay Area and Solano County.

Such pain, in­clud­ing the col­lec­tive shout­ing of de­ceased names, Ronell Fos­ter and Eric Rea­son among them, and home­made signs could be heard and seen Tues­day af­ter­noon in front of and in­side the County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Cen­ter in Fairfield.

There, some 50 mem­bers of the Jus­tice Coali­tion of Vallejo, a cou­ple of well-known Bay Area civil rights at­tor­neys and the fam­i­lies of shoot­ing vic­tims protested what they be­lieve were a se­ries of un­jus­ti­fied shoot­ing deaths of sev­eral black and brown men at the hands of Vallejo po­lice of­fi­cers dur­ing the last cou­ple of years and District At­tor­ney Kr­ishna Abrams’ per­ceived in­ac­tion or de­lays to pros­e­cute the shoot­ers.

As mi­cro­phones and TV cam­eras were set up out­side the Texas Street ad­min­is­tra­tion cen­ter, Kori McCoy, the brother Wil­lie McCoy, who was shot and killed by Vallejo po­lice of­fi­cers in Fe­bru­ary, said Of­fi­cer Ryan McMa­hon, who shot

and killed Fos­ter in Fe­bru­ary 2018, is “still roam­ing the street” and shouldn’t be, al­though he ac­knowl­edged the of­fi­cers in­volved in his brother’s death were cleared of wrong­do­ing by the District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

McCoy said that body cam­era footage posted on­line and avail­able to the pub­lic showed that his brother was shot and killed with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

McCoy was, seem­ingly, at a loss for words, re­count­ing some of the de­tails, won­der­ing how “it es­ca­lated to the point” that Wil­lie, his younger brother, lost his life.

Asked what he would like to do, McCoy said, “I’d like to pros­e­cute Ryan McMa­hon.”

His re­marks come af­ter an Au­gust anal­y­sis pub­lished in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sci­ences that in­di­cated get­ting killed by po­lice is a lead­ing cause of death for young black men in Amer­ica, with black men and

boys 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die dur­ing an en­counter with po­lice. The study’s find­ings also showed that Latino men and boys, black women and girls, Amer­i­can In­dian men, women and chil­dren are killed at higher rates that their white peers, but that the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of black males was par­tic­u­larly strik­ing.

The re­marks also come as Cal­i­for­nia, be­gin­ning in Jan­uary, will adopt new stan­dards gov­ern­ing the use of deadly force by law en­force­ment agen­cies.

Be­fore the for­mal protest got un­der­way, Bay Area civil rights at­tor­ney Melissa Nold is­sued a press re­lease that called for Abrams to charge McMa­hon with the mur­der of Fos­ter, who at the time was try­ing to flee and was shot in the back.

“Ms Abrams has had the po­lice re­port of the Fos­ter in­ci­dent on her desk since March 2019, at which time she told Fos­ter’s fam­ily that the re­view would be done within 90 days,” she wrote in the pre­pared state­ment. “We are now in month eight and the re­port is still ‘un­der re­view.’ It should take no longer than 4 months for a DA to make a charg­ing de­ci­sion. Why the de­lay?”

In the pre­pared state­ment, Nold, who ap­peared at the protest with well­known Oak­land-based civil rights at­tor­ney John Bur­ris, known for his work on po­lice bru­tal­ity cases, also also de­manded an “in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion” of the re­cent killing of Rea­son by off-duty Rich­mond po­lice Sgt. Vir­gil Thomas.

Rea­son, she noted, was run­ning away when he was shot in the back of the head.

“VPD of­fi­cers did not fol­low stan­dard pro­to­col with Thomas,” she wrote. “They did not se­quester him, but al­lowed him to hang around the crime scene. They have stated that they be­lieve Thomas will be ex­on­er­ated when the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­plete. We do not trust VPD or RPD to con­duct a fair and un­bi­ased in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

The Vallejo Po­lice Depart­ment “is out of con­trol” and has shown a pat­tern of mis­con­duct, which the City of Vallejo and Solano County District At­tor­ney have chose to “dis­miss the is­sue,” Nold added.

Dur­ing the protest out­side the cen­ter, fam­ily mem­bers spoke about their loved ones and their loss.

Paula McGowan, mother of Ronell Fos­ter, called her son’s killing and Abrams’ seem­ing in­ac­tion “in­hu­man and a damn shame.”

“If you don’t do some­thing about this, you’re as guilty as he is,” she said, re­fer­ring to McMa­hon. “If he were your child, he would have been charged.”

Bur­ris said such cases are “shock­ing” to him and “noth­ing’s been done.” He said of­fi­cers in­volved in un­jus­ti­fied killings “need to be pros­e­cuted,” be­cause they show “a reck­less dis­re­gard” for the life of a hu­man be­ing.

Nold, in her re­marks to the crowd, said, “We don’t shoot peo­ple in the back of the head,” a ref­er­ence to Rea­son and called for an out­side in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Vallejo po­lice.

Af­ter­ward, the crowd moved to the fourth floor of the Ad­min­is­tra­tion Cen­ter, where the McGowan and Sul­li­van asked to meet with Abrams, but the district at­tor­ney was not avail­able, they were told.


Paula McGowan looks at the posters re­fer­ring to the Fe­bru­ary 2018 shoot­ing death of her son, Ronell Fos­ter, by Vallejo po­lice Of­fi­cer Ryan McMa­hon.

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