Waukegan releases 6 videos of Marcellis Stinnette chase, shooting

However, the officer who fired the shots — which also wounded Stinnette’s girlfriend, 20-year-old Tafara Williams — did not activate his bodyworn camera before opening fire.

SHARE Waukegan releases 6 videos of Marcellis Stinnette chase, shooting

The city of Waukegan on Wednesday released six videos that captured the moments immediately before and after an officer in the northern suburb fatally shot 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette last week.

However, the officer who fired the shots — which also wounded Stinnette’s girlfriend, 20-year-old Tafara Williams — did not activate his bodyworn camera before opening fire.

The half dozen videos show that Williams, who was driving, and Stinnette were stopped by an officer near Liberty and Oak streets. That officer first asked if the two were involved in a recent traffic crash and then asked them for their names.

Both Williams and Stinnette gave fake names and the officer replied, “I thought you were Stinnette. I thought you all were the Stinnette kids, right?”

He then told Stinnette that he was under arrest and ordered him out of the car.

Neither Stinnette nor Williams exited, and the officer shined a flashlight into the vehicle and said: “Show me the hands, pal. I ain’t playin’ with you because I know you.”

“Marcellis, you’re under arrest,” the officer said again.

“He’s under arrest for what though?” Williams asked.

“Because he’s got a warrant,” the officer replied.

Marcellis Stinnette

Marcellis Stinnette


Williams then appears to record the interaction on her cellphone, and the officer tells her that his bodyworn camera is also on.

As the officer was leaning on the passenger side of the vehicle, again telling Stinnette to get out, Williams sped off.

The officer called for backup, and Williams’ car was then followed by the officer who ultimately opened fire.

While in pursuit, the officer saw Williams jump the curb at Martin Luther King Jr. and South avenues.

The officer got out of his car and started to order the two out of their vehicle again, but Williams put the car into reverse and started to drive, the videos show.

The officer then fired six shots. Williams’ car continued in reverse and crashed into a building across the street.

The videos — collected from squad car dashboard cameras, officers’ bodyworn cameras and private surveillance — do not show how close Williams’ car was to the officer when he started shooting.

After the shooting, the officer and Williams had a brief and tense exchange, though the two were several hundred feet away from each other.

“We didn’t do anything wrong!” Williams yelled.

“I was right behind you and you almost tried to run me over!” the officer screams back.

Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles announced last Friday that the still-unidentified officer was fired from the Police Department “for multiple policy and procedure violations.” The Illinois State Police is investigating the shooting with assistance from the FBI.

On Tuesday, Williams told reporters during a video call from her hospital bed that she and Stinnette didn’t do anything to provoke the shooting. She said after the shooting, Stinnette was badly wounded yet still breathing but the only help officers gave him was a blanket.

“They allowed him to die,” she said. “They wanted us to bleed out on the ground.”

A news conference held Wednesday by Antonio Romanucci and Ben Crump, Williams’ attorneys, differed from a briefing they held Tuesday, when they sounded optimistic about getting to the bottom of what happened. Instead, the attorneys said they suspected a coverup that began before the shooting when the officer failed to turn on his body camera as the situation was unfolding.

“It’s regrettable when you have officers who either were not trained properly or who intentionally and consciously made an effort not to turn on their bodycam video so we would see what they did to cause the death of Marcellis Stinnette and horrific injuries to Tafara Williams,” Crump said. “What we saw was just bits and pieces. ... There was no need to use this excessive deadly force. There was no need. It was a traffic stop.”

Contributing: Associated Press

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