Po­lice of­fi­cer cleared in fa­tal 2018 shoot­ing

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By John Glid­den jglid­den@timesher­al­don­line.com @glid24 on Twit­ter

No charges will be filed against the Vallejo po­lice of­fi­cer who killed a 33-year-old man in Fe­bru­ary 2018 as the two strug­gled be­hind a build­ing in down­town Vallejo, Solano County District At­tor­ney Kr­ishna Abrams an­nounced.

Vallejo of­fi­cer Ryan McMa­hon “was jus­ti­fied in us­ing deadly force,” Abrams said as her of­fice of­fi­cially closed its in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Fri­day into the deadly Feb. 13, 2018 shoot­ing.

McMa­hon shot Fos­ter seven times af­ter the man grabbed the of­fi­cer’s flash­light and al­legedly threat­ened him with it.

“It is and was ob­jec­tively rea­son­able for McMa­hon to de­fend him­self and open fire on Fos­ter,” Chief Deputy Paul Se­queira wrote in his in­ves­tiga­tive report

into the in­ci­dent. “Fos­ter posed an im­me­di­ate and ex­treme threat to the per­sonal safety of the po­lice of­fi­cer seek­ing his ap­pre­hen­sion.”

Melissa Nold, a civil rights at­tor­ney with the John Bur­ris Law Of­fices, re­tained by Fos­ter's rel­a­tives said the fam­ily is crit­i­cal of Abram's de­ci­sion.

“They're sick­ened and out­raged and they be­lieve that her en­dorse­ments and mon­e­tary do­na­tions from law en­force­ment com­pro­mise her abil­ity to ren­der a fair and un­bi­ased de­ci­sion,” Nold told the TimesHer­ald. “Kr­ishna Blue Lives Abrams con­tin­ues to scratch the backs of law en­force­ment at the ex­pense of hu­man life. The fam­ily and com­mu­nity in­tends to make sure that she is up­rooted from of­fice.”

Fos­ter's fam­ily filed a wrong­ful death in fed­eral court against the city of Vallejo and po­lice depart­ment in March 2018. That case is on­go­ing.

Randy Ris­ner, in­terim city at­tor­ney, is­sued a brief state­ment Fri­day af­ter­noon when asked for the city's re­ac­tion to Abrams' an­nounce­ment.

“While we re­spect the District At­tor­ney's work and de­ci­sion, we can­not com­ment fur­ther be­cause of the pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion in this mat­ter,” he wrote in an email to the Times-Her­ald.

The in­ci­dent be­gan when McMa­hon saw Fos­ter weav­ing in and out of traf­fic while rid­ing a bi­cy­cle head­ing north­bound on Sonoma Boule­vard near Capi­tol Street.

McMa­hon told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that at­tempted to con­duct a traf­fic stop on Fos­ter and “ed­u­cate” the man about driv­ing reck­lessly and not hav­ing a light on his bi­cy­cle. In­stead, Fos­ter fled on the bike, even­tu­ally ditch­ing it and run­ning as McMa­hon pur­sued on foot.

The of­fi­cer said he said Fos­ter reach­ing for his waist­band sev­eral times while flee­ing, and think­ing Fos­ter might have a weapon, McMa­hon dis­charged his Taser, with one of the two probes hit­ting Fos­ter in the back, he told in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Fos­ter con­tin­ued to run away un­til fall­ing along a walk­way be­hind a build­ing on Carolina Street. That al­lowed McMa­hon to catch up and push Fos­ter down as the man tried to get up.

McMa­hon told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that in an at­tempt a drive stun on Fos­ter by plac­ing the Taser against Fos­ter's body. That didn't work, as McMa­hon said he be­gan hit­ting Fos­ter with a flash­light. At some point, Fos­ter got up and “ripped” the flash­light from McMa­hon's hand, the of­fi­cer said.

At that point, fear­ing for his life, McMa­hon told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that he de­cided to shoot Fos­ter.

“This guy just took my light from me, we're fight­ing and noth­ing I've used on him is work­ing. He is gonna smack me in the head,” McMa­hon said to in­ves­ti­ga­tors. “He's gonna take my gun and shoot me or he's gonna beat me down with my own flash­light and there's no­body here to help me and no­body knows where I'm at.”

McMa­hon said that dur­ing the pur­suit he at­tempted to ac­ti­vate his body cam­era, but wasn't suc­cess­ful un­til af­ter shoot­ing Fos­ter. The sys­tem records the 30 sec­onds prior to activation with­out au­dio.

The video shows Fos­ter lay­ing on his back and side as McMa­hon drive stuns the man. Fos­ter then leans up and ap­pears to make a move to­ward the weapon, but due to the move­ment of the cam­era there isn't a clear im­age un­til Fos­ter is again down on his left side.

McMa­hon then seems to strike Fos­ter sev­eral times with a flash­light. Fos­ter gets up, and is fa­tally shot by the of­fi­cer. The video shows that be­fore fir­ing, McMa­hon backed up and the flash­light ap­peared to be held by Fos­ter. How­ever, due to the move­ment of the cam­era it's not de­fin­i­tive.

McMa­hon was one of six of­fi­cers who shot and killed 20-year-old Wil­lie Mc­Coy in Fe­bru­ary 2019 as he sat in the front seat of his car near a lo­cal driv­ethrough restau­rant. The of­fi­cers fired 55 times, strik­ing Mc­Coy with more than 20 bul­lets.

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