/  10.22.2020

On Tuesday night (Oct. 20), a Black teen was fatally shot and a young woman was injured by a Waukegan, Illinois police officer after he fired his weapon towards a vehicle that was allegedly reversing towards him.

According to NBC News, 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette died from his injuries. Tafara Williams, who was the driver of the car, was hospitalized with serious injuries, but is expected to recover.

Waukegan Police Commander Edgar Navarro told reporters that the officer approached a “suspicious” vehicle. As the cop was conducting his investigation, the car fled and was found moments later by another officer — who got out of his patrol car to approach the vehicle.

“That officer exited his vehicle and the vehicle that he was investigating began to reverse towards the officer. The officer then pulled out his duty weapon and fired into the vehicle,” Navarro said.

The officer, who is Hispanic and a 5-year veteran of the department, was reportedly “in fear for his safety” at the time of the shooting. No weapons were found in the vehicle Stinnette and Williams were in.

Their family is now searching for answers. “When I got there, she said, ‘Mama, they just shot us for nothing,’” Cliftina Johnson, Williams’ mom, said. “My daughter said she put her hand up and if she didn’t put her hand up she said, ‘Mama, I would be dead.’”

“We’re looking for peace and justice. That’s all we want,” Francellise Stinnette-Watts, Stinnette’s great-aunt, said. “We want to know what happened. We would like to see the video cam.”

Illinois State Police’s Public Integrity Task Force is currently investigating the shooting. The Waukegan Police Department has turned over all evidence in the case — including reports, bodycam and dashcam videos.

On Thursday (Oct. 22), protests took place throughout the streets of Waukegan as many people demanded justice for Stinnette and Williams. “Say his name! Marcellis Stinnette! What’s her name? Tafara Williams,” the group chanted.


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