VALLEJO (CBS SF) — A civil case has been settled against the city of Vallejo for $5.7 million over the fatal police shooting of Ronell Foster in 2018, city officials announced Friday.
“We think it’s the largest settlement in Vallejo history and it’s fitting considering how outrageous the shooting was,” said attorney Michael Haddad, who represented Foster’s youngest child in the case.
Attorney John Burris represented Foster’s other child and parents.
Foster was shot and killed by Officer Ryan McMahon, who Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams recommended be terminated for his actions in the February 2019 shooting of 20-year-old rapper Willie McCoy in a Taco Bell drive-thru. Williams made that recommendation in March.
McMahon is exercising his due process rights and his termination is pending, according to city officials.
On the evening of Feb. 13, 2018, McMahon tried to stop 33-year-old Foster, of Vallejo, because he was riding a bicycle in an unsafe manner, police said.
McMahon tried to stop Foster at Marin and Florida streets around 7:40 p.m.
Haddad said that Foster decided to ride away, and McMahon drove after Foster for a petty offense. Foster crashed his bike and a foot pursuit
ensued, according to Haddad.
McMahon shot Foster with a Taser, which had no effect, police and Haddad agree.
Foster tripped and fell, and then McMahon pushed him down some stairs, Haddad said. Foster was on his back when McMahon held his Taser against Foster’s body and fired, according to Haddad.
Then, McMahon allegedly starts hitting Foster with his flashlight.
“Some officers call it their flash clubs,” Haddad said.
Later, McMahon admitted that hitting Foster with the flashlight was using deadly force, and at least one blow was to Foster’s head, Haddad said.
Police said early after the shooting that Foster then took away McMahon’s flashlight and “presented” it in a threatening manner.
But Haddad disagreed. He said Foster took away the flashlight, and on his buttocks, tried to turn around and move away from McMahon when McMahon fired at Foster. The shots killed him.
“He never struck the officer or tried to hurt him,” Haddad said of Foster.
Police said shortly after the shooting that the altercation was a violent physical one and occurred in the 400 block of Carolina Street.
City officials said they are not admitting any liability for the killing, even though they have decided to settle the case.
Police did not respond to a request Friday for a comment on the settlement.
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