Illinois officer who shot, killed Black man fired from police force

Rayon Edwards speaks on a megaphone as he marches with protesters during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who was killed by Waukegan Police Tuesday in Waukegan, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Stinnette, 19, was killed and his girlfriend the mother of his child, Tafara Williams, was wounded when a police officer in Waukegan opened fire Tuesday night after police said Williams' vehicle started rolling toward the officer following a traffic stop. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WAUKEGAN, Ill. — A suburban Chicago police officer who fatally shot a Black man who was a passenger in a vehicle and wounded the Black female driver has been fired, the department’s officials announced late Friday.

In a brief statement, Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles said the unidentified officer committed “multiple policy and procedure violations.” No other details were provided regarding the officer’s dismissal.

The announcement of the firing came shortly after Lake County’s chief prosecutor announced the FBI will join Illinois State Police in investigating the shooting late Tuesday of Marcellis Stinnette, 19, and the wounding of his girlfriend, Tafara Williams.

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State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said he asked the U.S. Justice Department to review the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Stinnette and Williams.

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“I am confident in the work being done by the Illinois State Police and welcome the assistance of the FBI,” 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.”

Waukegan police have said the pair were in a vehicle that fled a traffic stop late Tuesday and that the vehicle was later spotted by another officer. Police said that as the second officer approached, the vehicle started moving in reverse and the officer opened fire. No weapon was found in the vehicle.

The officer who shot the couple is Hispanic and a five-year veteran of the Waukegan Police Department. The officer who conducted the original traffic stop is white, police said.

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During a Thursday demonstration, Clyde McLemore, head of the Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter, called for a federal investigation. Activists and relatives of the couple also have demanded the release of police video of the shooting, which authorities say has been turned over to investigators.

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Activist Chris Blanks said the video is particularly important because the police version of events and the version Clifftina Johnson said her wounded daughter, Williams, shared with her appear to contradict each other. Johnson said her daughter told her that Williams and her boyfriend had done nothing to provoke the officer.

Nerheim urged calm while the investigation takes place and pledged transparency.

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