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Police officer fired after shooting of Black couple in Illinois

Brendan O'Brien
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A view outside the Lake County Courthouse is seen following the Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting of protesters, in Waukegan, Illinois
FILE PHOTO: A view outside the Lake County Courthouse is seen following the Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting of protesters, in Waukegan, Illinois

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - A police officer in Waukegan, Illinois, was fired after he shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager and wounded the young man's 20-year-old Black girlfriend during a traffic stop earlier this week.

The unidentified officer was terminated from his job on Friday night for multiple policy and procedure violations, the Waukegan Police Department said in a statement, three days after the incident left 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette dead and his girlfriend Tafarra Williams wounded.

Some 200 to 300 people were expected to hold a demonstration calling for justice on Saturday in the city of 85,000 people in Lake County about 45 miles (72 km) north of Chicago, according to Clyde McLemore, a local organizer.

Similar protests and marches against racism and police brutality have swept across the United States during the last six months following the May 25 killing of African-American George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Waukegan is 15 miles (25 km) south of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where sometimes violent protests erupted after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back several times on Aug. 23.

According to Waukegan police, a Hispanic male officer was conducting a traffic stop on Tuesday night when he shot into the couple’s car because it went into reverse and he feared for his safety. No firearm was found in the vehicle, the police said.

Stinnette, who was the passenger in the vehicle, died, while Williams was wounded in the abdomen and wrist, according to Satrese Stallworth, a relative of Stinnette and a spokeswoman for the family.

Williams remains in the hospital, the Waukegan Police Department said.

“We do not trust the police narrative in this case. We have seen over and over that the ‘official’ report when police kill Black people is far too often missing or misrepresenting details,” Williams' attorney, Ben Crump, said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to assist the Illinois State Police in its investigation.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis)