On Tuesday, the Waukegan, Illinois, officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black teenager and wounded his girlfriend during a traffic stop has been fired. The police chief announced the dismissal on Friday.
The officer involved, who is Hispanic and has worked with the department for five years, made “multiple policy and procedure violations,” according to Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles said in an Oct. 23 statement.
Chief Walles did not detail which policies the officer involved had violated.
When an initial officer, who is white, attempted to investigate a car that was sitting outside of a residence in the Chicago suburb, Marcellis Stinnette 19, was a passenger in his girlfriend Tafara Williams’ vehicle. The officers investigated the car because it was “suspicious.”
Officials have not offered details about why the vehicle was considered suspicious. Williams’ family has said the couple was outside of her mother’s home.
Police said the vehicle sped off and was spotted by a second officer nearby. “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,” Waukegan Police Commander Edgar Navarro said on Wednesday.
No weapons were found in the vehicle, and both officers were initially placed on leave.
Both Stinnette and Williams, 20, were transported to the hospital after the shooting. Stinnette died from his injuries, leaving a child he shares with Williams behind.
Williams is expected to survive and is being represented by attorneys attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio M. Romanucci.
“Ms. 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. We have seen over and over that the ‘official’ report when police kill Black people is far too often missing or misrepresenting details,” Crump said in a press release. “We will share our findings with the public when we have uncovered the truth.”
A witness has offered a different account of the events that transpired the night of the shooting, claiming the officer rammed his vehicle into Williams’ car and began shooting, according to the Daily Herald.
Williams’ family also questioned how the young mother was struck by gunfire in the stomach if she was shot from behind. “When I got there, she said, ‘Mama, they just shot us for nothing,’” said Williams’ mother Cliftina Johnson about the visit to she made to see her daughter at the hospital.
The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force previously announced it was investigating the incident and was reviewing body camera and squad camera footage. On Friday, the FBI said it would also investigate the shooting.
Protesters are now calling for body and squad car footage of the shooting to be released to the public.
“This is just something that I see on the news or on TV and think it’ll never happen to me. Now I’m a victim of the same thing. My mother has lost her son. Another African-American family is broken,” said Marcellis Stinnette’s sister Zhanellis Banks to News 4 Jax.