Rayon Edwards leads a chant and march during rally and protest against police brutality Thursday after Marcellis Stinnettte, 19, was fatality shot by police in Waukegan.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Police shooting of Marcellis Stinnette in Waukegan

The Oct. 20 shooting that began as a traffic stop in the north suburb near the Illinois border with Wisconsin sparked outrage amid nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality and racial justice.

A Waukegan police officer shot two people shortly before midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 20 — fatally wounding one of them — after the car they were in allegedly reversed at the officer during a traffic stop in the north suburb.

Marcellis Stinnette, a 19-year-old Black man from Waukegan, and his girlfriend Tafara Williams, who was driving the car, were both shot. Stinnette died from his gunshot wound at Vista Medical Center East, according to Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper. Williams survived after undergoing surgery, according to her family.

Authorities initially said the shooting was in self-defense and that the officer who fired feared for his life. The officer was placed on administrative leave and later fired “for multiple policy and procedure violations,” according to the city’s police chief.

Marcellis Stinnette

Marcellis Stinnette


Chief Wayne Walles announced that the Illinois State Police were conducting an independent investigation of the shooting with FBI assistance.

The city of Waukegan later released six videos that captured the moments immediately before and the shooting, but the officer who fired the shots did not activate his bodyworn camera before opening fire.

The shooting sparked outrage as it came amid nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality and racial justice.

Stinnette’s mother, Zharvellis Holmes, filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city of Waukegan, Police Chief Wayne Walles and the two officers involved in the Oct. 20 shooting of negligence, alleging, among other things, that Stinnette laid on the ground bleeding without medical attention for over eight minutes after he was shot.

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October 22, 2020 11:46 AM