Family of Black man killed by police to get nearly $6M

Ronell Foster
Ronell Foster (VPD)

VALLEJO, Calif. – The city of Vallejo in the San Francisco Bay area has agreed to pay $5.7 million to the family of a Black man who was shot and killed by a Vallejo police officer in 2018, city officials announced Friday.

Ronell Foster, 33, was riding a bike in downtown Vallejo without a headlamp the evening of Feb. 13, 2018, when he was spotted and pursued by Officer Ryan McMahon, who later told investigators that he stopped Foster in order to “educate the public on the dangers that this person was creating for himself and the traffic on Sonoma Boulevard," the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

After a brief pursuit, McMahon said, Foster grabbed his metal flashlight and tried to strike him during a physical altercation, prompting McMahon to open fire. Foster died at the scene after being shot in the back of the head.

McMahon was cleared of wrongdoing in January by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, which declared McMahon’s deadly use of force justified after an investigation that included body camera footage.

But Foster’s family brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against McMahon and the city.

The city itself will pay the Foster family only $500,000. The rest will be paid by the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities, a municipal insurance provider.

The Foster family is “happy the truth has finally come out,” Adanté Pointer, a lawyer for the family, said Friday.

“Ronell did not deserve to die,” Pointer said. “True justice would be to see Officer McMahon walking into court as a criminal defendant.