Waukegan Officials Release Dashcam, Body Camera Footage of Fatal Police Shooting

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Waukegan police have released body camera and dashboard camera footage from a fatal police shooting that left a Black man dead and a Black woman injured.  

19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette was killed in the Oct. 20 shooting, while his girlfriend Tafara Williams suffered serious injuries.

According to Waukegan officials, the officer who fired the shots in the incident did not have his body camera activated when he opened fire, but turned the camera on shortly after the shooting. That footage, along with body camera footage from other officers and the dashboard footage from the officer’s vehicle, was released Wednesday after it was first shown to the Stinnette and Williams families.

In one of the videos released, taken from the dashboard of the officer who fired the shots at the vehicle, the car is shown speeding away from the police cruiser on the night of the shooting. After a brief pursuit, the vehicle comes to a stop on the grass on a side street, then is seen reversing.

The officer is heard yelling at the driver to stop, then gunshots are heard before the footage stops.

Another video shows the officer’s body-worn camera, which was turned on after the shots were fired.

“You almost tried to run me over!” the officer is heard shouting at Williams.

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Williams can be heard shouting “he got shot, he got shot” while the officer’s body camera continues to roll.

According to Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham, the officer who fired the shots did not have his body camera activated at the time of the shooting.

“This was a breach of Waukegan Police Department policies, and one of the reasons for the officer’s termination,” Cunningham said.

The family was shown the footage early Wednesday, and held a press conference to discuss what the videos displayed.

“What you are going to see is an officer who’s overreacting to a situation, who’s acting aggressively, who’s going out of bounds,” Stinnette family attorney Kevin O’Connor said. “They waited over eight minutes to even get help. He could have survived if they would have been acting appropriately and helped him out. They threw him away like he was nothing.”

(This is the footage from the body-worn camera of the officer who fired the shots in the incident. Warning: viewer discretion is advised)

(This video is from the dashboard of the officer’s police vehicle. Some viewers may find the footage disturbing)

The Waukegan Police Department turned the case over to Illinois State Police. ISP’s findings will be shared with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, who will have final determination on whether charges will be filed in the case.

Police say Williams was driving the vehicle and Stinnette was a passenger that fled a traffic stop conducted by an officer late on Oct. 20. A short time later, their vehicle was spotted by another officer, who is shown on dashboard footage pursuing the vehicle.

Authorities said that Williams’ vehicle came to a stop, then began to reverse toward the officer, and that’s when he opened fire.

According to Williams’ account of the incident, officers on the scene waited eight minutes to call for medical assistance despite Stinnette suffering multiple gunshot wounds. He later died from his injuries.

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The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI were also brought in to examine the case, according to Waukegan officials.

Above all else, Cunningham says that his administration is committed to transparency, and promised that all procedures and policies will be followed during the investigation.

“We are all hurting as a result of this incident, and while I intend to allow justice to run its course and not compromise the integrity of the process, I must balance that with my commitment to the families and the community to always maintain transparency,” Cunningham said.

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