Marcellis Stinnette’s family demands answers after the City of Waukegan released several videos from deadly Oct. 21 encounter when an officer kills the 19-year-old and injures his 20-year-old girlfriend, Tafara Williams, but none were from the now-fired officer’s body camera.
Emotions were raw as both families reviewed the video. The couple was in a parked car when they were approached by a Waukegan police officer. The officer tells Stinnette he knows him and to get out the vehicle because he was under arrest. Williams asked why and the officer said he had a warrant. At the moment, the car sped away and a brief chase was underway.
Next, you hear a burst of gunfire captured on dashcam video, but there is no video of the actual shooting because the officer who fired the shots didn’t turn on his bodycam until after the shooting. When he did, you can hear him say they tried to run him over.
The families of both victims are outraged about the missing key of evidence.
Attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference, “The first thing you do is hit the button. Why are we paying all this money for bodycam video so we can have transparency if the officers aren’t using the body cameras.”
Waukegan’s mayor, Sam Cunningham, agreed with Crump and expressed disappointment at the officer’s actions.
“This was a breach of Waukegan Police Department policy, and one of the reasons for the officer’s termination,” Cunningham said.
Attorney Antonio Romanucci questioned the officer’s motive for not using the bodycam before shots were fired.
“What’s disturbing is that when that body camera went on, the false narrative came out … you tried to run me over,” Romanucci said about the fired officer, adding, “There is no doubt that the use of force here was excessive.”