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Illinois Police Officer Fired After Shooting Of Unarmed Black Teen And His Girlfriend As City Plans To Release Footage

The unidentified officer was terminated for "multiple policy and procedure violations," that led to the death of Marcellis Stinnette and the wounding of his girlfriend, Tafara Williams, the Waukegan police chief announced.

By Dorian Geiger
Sherrellis Stinnette Ap

An Illinois police officer has been fired after shooting and killing an unarmed Black man and his girlfriend last week. 

The Waukegan police officer who fatally shot Marcellis Stinnette, 19, and wounded his girlfriend, Tafara Williams, 20, on Oct. 20 violated "multiple policy and procedure violations," Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said in a statement obtained by Oxygen.com

The shooting, which occurred last Tuesday in Waukegan, unfolded shortly before midnight. An officer was investigating a suspicious vehicle that two people were sitting in, at which point the car "fled," authorities said, according to CNN. Soon after, another officer — the one involved in the shooting — found the vehicle about half a mile from the scene of the first encounter. As he approached the car, it began to reverse toward him and he opened fire "in fear of his safety," police said in their initial statement on the incident, prior to the officer's firing.  

Stinnette, who was in the passenger seat, was shot and killed. Willams, his girlfriend, was hospitalized with gunshot wounds as of late last week. No weapons were found in the vehicle, according to investigators.

The officer, who has not been identified, is Hispanic and a five-year veteran of the Waukegan Police Department, authorities said.

Activists have called for police video of the shooting to be released. Once relatives of the victims can view the video, it will be available to the public, Mayor Cunningham said Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported

Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Jacob Blake confirmed he’s been retained by Williams.

“We have seen that the ‘official’ report when police kill Black people is often missing or misrepresenting details,” Crump wrote on Twitter. “We will share our findings when we have uncovered the truth.”

Following the police shooting, protesters marched through Waukegan, a city roughly 35 miles north of Chicago, including the Stinnette’s family, who urged calm.

“The police officer, he’s forgiven,” Sharellis Stinnette, Marcellis' grandmother, said, according to NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV. “I have to forgive him. That’s what God wants me to do. He’s forgiven.

Illinois State Police are leading an independent investigation into the shooting, which will later be turned over to the Lake County State Attorney’s Office. The investigation is expected to take several weeks. 

“Once I have had the opportunity to review the entire investigation, I will make a determination regarding whether the officers violated any laws,” State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The FBI is also monitoring the investigation.

“The FBI is aware of the death of Marcellis Stinnette and will review all available facts of the incident to determine if a federal response is warranted,” FBI Special Agent Siobhan Johnson told Oxygen.com on Monday.

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