City of Waukegan Settled With Man Beaten by Officer for $300K, Agreement Shows

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The City of Waukegan agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man beaten in August 2019 by a police officer who fatally shot another man the following year, according to documents obtained by NBC 5 Investigates. That officer, Dante Salinas, was fired from the department following the shooting and has since been indicted in connection with both incidents.

On Aug. 31, 2019, Angel Salgado said he was celebrating a baptism at his father-in-law's house and had just stepped outside for a cigarette when Salinas approached, first with his firearm drawn before holstering it and drawing his taser.

"Why are you pointing a gun at me? I'm not doing nothing," Salgado recalled last week.

Body-worn camera footage of the confrontation shows tensions escalate before Salinas deployed his taser.

"He told me I was under arrest, so I told him, 'For what?'" Salgado said. "He tackles me, he starts punching me in the face."

More officers arrive and pin Salgado down, the video shows. He's arrested - his nose and eye socket both broken.

The following month, a memo from the Waukegan Police Department's Deputy Chief to the Office of Professional Standards Commander says Salinas' use of force was "within department policy" but recommended "it might be beneficial" for him to review the incident with a sergeant.

"This would give Officer Salinas some tools he could use if faced with a similar situation in the future," the memo reads.

In August 2020, Salgado filed a federal lawsuit against Salinas and the City of Waukegan, alleging the officer used excessive force and violated his civil rights.

Less than two months after that lawsuit was filed, on Oct. 20, 2020, authorities say Salinas fatally shot 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette, who was a passenger in a vehicle being pursued by police. Salinas was fired from the department on Oct. 23, 2020, according to Waukegan police.

"He should have never been on the street," Salgado's attorney Kevin O'Connor said. "I truly blame the city of Waukegan for the death of Marcellis Stinnette."

The settlement agreement for Salgado's case, obtained via public records request, shows the City agreed to pay him $300,000 to settle the lawsuit with no admission of wrongdoing. The Waukegan City Council unanimously approved that amount on July 5 of this year, with the agreement signed on July 20 and the case dismissed the following week, records show.

On Thursday, Lake County prosecutors announced that Salinas had been indicted for both incidents: on charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct for the beating of Salgado, as well as second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter for the death of Stinnette. Salinas has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted, he could face more than 20 years in prison. Attempts to reach Salinas for comment were not successful.

Stinnette's loved ones said last week that the charges brought some justice - but would never bring him back.

"I don't think it will never be no peace," said Rayon Edwards, who said he had known Stinnette for years. "A life was lost here, you know what I'm saying? A family destroyed."

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