Ill. police release dashcam video in fatal OIS; officer activated BWC after shooting
The Waukegan officer, who turned on his bodycam after the shooting, was fired “for multiple policy and procedure violations,” Department Commander Edgar Navarro said
By Theresa Braine
New York Daily News
WAUKEGAN, Ill. — The former suburban Chicago cop who shot two Black teens, killing one and wounding the other, did not turn on his body camera until after he’d pulled the trigger, according to video footage released Wednesday.
Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was killed, and Tafara Williams, 20, was wounded on Oct. 20 when the car they were in allegedly reversed toward an officer, who shot into the car, according to police.
The officer was fired on Friday.
“The body-worn camera of the officer involved was not activated to properly archive the time of the shooting,” Mayor Sam Cunningham said in a statement Wednesday. “This was a breach of Waukegan Police Department policies, and one of the reasons for the officer’s termination.”
Williams, who was driving, said Tuesday that the two had begged to live and that first responders covered her boyfriend in a blanket while he was still alive.
Tafara Williams, 20, was driving a car with Marcellis Stinnette, 19, on Oct. 20, when an officer fired several bullets into the vehicle, killing Stinnette and seriously injuring Williams.
The officer has not been identified but termination was “for multiple policy and procedure violations,” Department Commander Edgar Navarro said, according to USA Today.
Williams said she and Stinnette were sitting in her car in Waukegan, a suburb just north of Chicago, when an officer pulled up and started harassing them, without turning on his lights or siren. After they were deemed free to go, she said, they encountered a second officer as they drove away.
Police said the car went into reverse and tried to run them over. Williams said she lost control of the car because they were being shot at, and slammed into a building.
It was after the shooting that the then-officer turned on his body camera, USA Today reported.
After viewing video of the incident, the families' attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said there was no indication that the couple’s actions were remiss.
“What’s disturbing is that once that body camera went on, that false narrative came out,” Romanucci said, according to USA Today. “This officer had his ‘oh crap’ moment after the shooting and pushed the button. ‘You tried to run me over,’ those were his first words.”
The video that is available — which included building surveillance, bodycam and dashcam — show the car reversing into a building, though not the shooting itself, USA Today said.
The family attorneys said there was no evidence of any wrongdoing on the couple’s part.
“The body-worn camera of the officer involved was not activated to properly archive the time of the shooting,” Mayor Sam Cunningham said Wednesday, according to USA Today. “This was a breach of Waukegan Police Department policies, and one of the reasons for the officer’s termination.”
The families' attorneys had a slightly stronger characterization of the situation as they introduced the video at a press conference.
“What you are going to see is an officer who’s overreacting to a situation, who’s acting aggressively, who’s going out of bounds,” Stinnette family attorney Kevin O’Connor said, according to WMAQ-TV. “They waited over eight minutes to even get help. He could have survived if they would have been acting appropriately and helped him out. They threw him away like he was nothing.”
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