Waukegan, IL – Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said the city will release bodycam video of an officer-involved shooting that led to the death of one man and the serious wounding of a woman after the families involved have had a chance to view the footage.
Waukegan police said the incident occurred just before midnight on Oct. 20 after a car occupied by 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette and driven by 20-year-old Tafara Williams fled from officers, NBC News reported.
Another officer spotted the vehicle a few moments later.
Waukegan police said in a press release the day after the shooting that the second officer got out of his vehicle and approached the suspect vehicle, NBC News reported.
The vehicle began backing up toward the officer and the officer opened fire “in fear of his safety,” according to the press release.
Stinnette was fatally shot, according to NBC News.
The driver also sustained gunshot wounds but was transported to the hospital and was expected to survive her wounds after multiple surgeries.
The incident sparked protests in Waukegan, which is located about 40 miles north of Chicago, NBC News reported.
Officials have not yet released the name of the police officer involved, but said he was a Hispanic male with five years on the Waukegan Police Department, CBS News reported.
The police department initially said the officer had been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation by the Illinois State Police.
But on Friday, Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles announced he had terminated the officer, The New York Times reported.
“The City of Waukegan terminated the officer that discharged his firearm during that incident, for multiple policy and procedure violations,” Chief Walles said in a written statement.
The state police’s investigation of the incident will be turned over to Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim for a determination of whether there will be charges against the officer, The New York Times reported.
Nerheim has asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) “to review the circumstances surrounding this incident” and said the federal agency had agreed to take a look at the case.
“I am confident in the work being done by the Illinois State Police and welcome the assistance of the F.B.I.,” Nerheim said in a statement. “As I have said before, once the investigation is concluded, all the evidence will be reviewed and a final decision will be made with respect to any potential charges.”
He called it “critical” that “all available resources and as many independent fresh eyes as possible” be involved in the case, The New York Times reported.
“I continue to urge calm as we undertake this process and pledge complete transparency,” Nerheim said.
Stinnette’s family was also calling for peace in the Waukegan community as protests ratcheted up over the weekend, WFLD reported.
“We just pray that the people keep the peace,” Stinnette’s great aunt, Francellis Stinnette, said. “There’s no sense in acting a fool.”
Stinnette’s grandmother, Sherrellis Sheria Stinnette, called for calm and said she had already forgiven the officer who killed her grandson, WFLD reported.
“And the police officer, he’s forgiven. I have to forgive him. That’s what God wants me to do. He’s forgiven! He’s forgiven!” the grieving grandmother said.
Despite the involvement of the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), family members of Williams have called on Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to intervene in the investigation, WFLD reported.
Williams’ family has said she cannot wait to tell her side of the story about what led up to the shootings.
The Waukegan mayor announced Sunday that officials would release bodycam and security video footage from the incident as soon as Stinnette’s family had an opportunity to view it, WFLD reported.
“After a determination is made that the release of the relevant videos will not prejudice or adversely impact the integrity of the ongoing state and federal investigations, the City of Waukegan intends to release these recordings to the public at large, after the families are first able to view them,” Cunningham said in a statement.