An Illinois police officer was fired after fatally shooting a Black teen

Taylor Ardrey
·4 min read
Marcellis Stinnette
Demonstrators protest the October 20 police shooting that led to the death of 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette and left his girlfriend, 20-year-old Tafara Williams, with serious injuries on October 22, 2020 in Waukegan, Illinois. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • An unidentified Illinois police officer was terminated on Friday for his role in an incident where he discharged his firearm at a young Black couple who were sitting in their vehicle, according to ABC News.

  • On the night of October 20, 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette, and 20-year-old Tafara Williams, were reversing their vehicle as the officer approached them.

  • The officer fired at the vehicle while the couple was inside "in fear for his safety," according to the police report published by WLS-TV.

  • Stinnette died from his injuries, while Williams is recovering from wounds to her hand and stomach.

  • Protests broke out in Waukegan, Illinois as demonstrators demanded answers from authorities, the Chicago-Sun Times reported. 

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An Illinois police officer was terminated for shooting at a Black couple while they were in their car on Tuesday— killing the teenage boy who occupied the passenger's seat, reports say.

ABC News reported that the unidentified officer of Waukegan, Illinois Police Department was terminated on Friday for the incident concerning 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette, and 20-year-old Tafara Williams.

"In the evening hours of October 23, 2020 the City of Waukegan terminated the officer that discharged his firearm during that incident, for multiple policy and procedure violations," Waukegan Chief of Police Wayne Walles said, according to the report. 

According to WLS-TV, when an officer went to inspect a "suspicious vehicle" on Tuesday at around 11:55 pm that was inhabited  by Williams and Stinnette, the "car drove off."

A second officer who saw their car moments later and approached them, fired at the vehicle "in fear for his safety" as the duo reversed their car, according to the police department's statement published by WLS-TV. The officer who struck the couple is Hispanic, according to the report. 

An eyewitness Darrell Mosier told WLS-TV, that the police officer got out of his vehicle and told Stinnette and Williams to stop moving their car.  "He told her to stop. She was scared," he said.  

He added: "She put her up hands, she started yelling, 'Why you got a gun?' She started screaming. He just started shooting."

Williams, who was the driver, and Stinnette, who was in the passenger's seat, were both transported to a local hospital after being shot, the news station reported. Stinnette died in the hospital while Williams—who was reportedly shot in the stomach and hand— is recovering from her injuries, authorities said. 

"Why did you shoot? I didn't do nothing wrong. I have a license," Williams said while in the hospital, according to WLS-TV." You didn't tell me I was under arrest. Why did you just flame up my car like that? Why did you shoot?"

The incident is under "independent investigation" by Illinois State Police, Walles said in a statement, according to ABC News.

"Once that investigation has been completed, it will be turned over to the Lake County Illinois State's Attorney's Office for review," he said.

Marcellis Stinnette2
Sherrellis Stinnette, the grandmother of 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette, joins demonstrators protesting the October 20 police shooting that left her grandson dead and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Tafara Williams, with serious injuries on October 22, 2020 in Waukegan, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Demonstraters demand answers from local authorities

Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer who has been representing families affected by police brutality, is one of the attornies representing Williams.

"Mrs. Williams' legal team will begin our own investigation into what happened during that incident, because we do not trust the police narrative in this case," Crump said in a news release on Friday. "We have seen over and over that the 'official' report when police kill Black people is far too often missing or misrepresenting details. We will share our findings with the public when we have uncovered the truth."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that dozens of demonstrators gathered for protests in Waukegan—including members of Jacob Blake's family—calling for more answers on Thursday at the city's police station. Loved ones and protesters are skeptical about what really occurred during the night of the incident and don't "trust" authorities to spearhead the investigation, according to the newspaper. 

"We would like justice, but we also would like police reform," Zhanellis Banks, who is Stinnette's sister, said according to WLS-TV.

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