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Lawsuit claims 19-year-old bled out for 8 minutes after police shooting in Waukegan

A lawsuit, which is seeking compensation and a jury trial, was filed by Marcellis Stinnette’s mother and alleges that her son bled out for eight minutes before receiving aid after he had been shot by a Waukegan police officer.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday by Chicago-based O’Connor Law Firm on behalf of Zharvellis Holmes, who is Stinnette’s mother.

The suit names the City of Waukegan, Officer Dante Salinas, Officer James Keating and Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles as defendants.

It alleges that Officer Keating attempted to arrest Stinnette without justification or probable cause.

 

The suit also alleges that Officer Salinas used excessive force by fatally shooting Stinnette when there were no reasonable grounds to do so.

Videos leading up to the shooting were released Wednesday by the City of Waukegan.

Marcellis Stinnette, 19, of Waukegan. | Family provided photo.

Tafara Williams, 20, of Waukegan, and Stinnette, also of Waukegan, were sitting in a car near Liberty Street and Oak Street in Waukegan in front of Williams’ home around 11:55 p.m. on October 20.

Bodycam footage shows Officer Keating’s pull up in his squad car next to their vehicle.

“Aren’t you the dude who got into an accident? You got into an accident right? What’s your name?” Keating asks.

Stinnette tells the officer his name is “King” and Keating replies, “I thought you were Stinnette?”

The officer walks around to the passenger seat of the car where Stinnette was seated and tells him he’s under arrest because he has a warrant.

Williams, who was seated in the driver’s seat, puts the car into gear and speeds off, nearly running Keating over.

A protest rally was held on October 22, 2020, in Waukegan following the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette. | Photo: George Moore Jr.

A short time later, a second Waukegan police officer, identified as Officer Salinas, spots the vehicle as it pulls out of a driveway and drives around the first officer’s car, which had its emergency lights activated.

A brief police pursuit ensues and Williams’ car slid off the road near Helmholz Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Salinas jumps out of his car and yells “Get out of the fu—– car” as Williams’ car reverses in the direction of the officer, dashcam footage shows.

Salinas fires six shots into the vehicle, striking both Williams and Stinnette, as it reverses before coming to a stop after it crashed into a building.

Stinnette was transported by ambulance to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan where he was pronounced dead. Williams was transported by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville in serious condition.

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Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles said Salinas, who is Hispanic and has five years of experience with the department, was fired for “multiple policy and procedure violations.”

“The body-worn camera of the officer involved was not activated to properly archive the time of the shooting. This was a breach of Waukegan Police Department policies, and one of the reasons for the officer’s termination, “Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said on Wednesday.

Tafara Williams, 20, of Waukegan, speaks from her hospital bed Tuesday following a police-involved shooting last week in Waukegan which left her boyfriend dead.

Williams spoke from her hospital bed on Tuesday and shared her view of the incident.

“I rolled down the window and turned on all the lights in the car so the officer could see. I had no weapons and I wasn’t doing anything illegal.” Williams said.

“I asked the officer if we were free to leave. The officer took a few steps away from the car and got on his cellphone. I drove away very slowly because I was scared to get out of the car,” Williams said.

“That day, I lost the love of my life and the father of my 7-month-old son. [The baby] is the only thing I have left of Marcellis,” Williams said tearfully.

Screengrab of dashcam video.

Williams also claimed that she and Stinnette both had their hands up and that the first officer who approached their car harassed them and knew Stinnette by name.

Williams also claimed that the first officer never turned on his lights or sirens.

No guns were found in Williams’ vehicle. The U.S. Department of Justice and Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting.

“If state charges are approved, the court process will begin, which will be open to the public. If state charges are not approved, a detailed statement will be provided explaining the facts, applicable laws, and basis for the decision. At that time, my office’s case file will also be made available to the public on the state’s attorney’s office website at www.lcsao.org,” Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said.

“I continue to urge calm as we undertake this process and pledge complete transparency. Once again our condolences continue to go out to the families and friends of Marcellis Stinnette and our prayers for a speedy recovery go out to the woman wounded in this unfortunate situation,” he added.


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