The mother of a Black teenager who was fatally shot by an Illinois police officer has sued the officers involved and the Waukegan Police Department, alleging excessive force, wrongful death, and negligence.
The lawsuit alleged that Marcellis Stinnette was not treated for his deadly injuries for more than eight minutes.
The officer fatally shot 19-year-old Stinnette and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Tafara Williams, during a traffic stop on October 20, authorities said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Stinnette’s mother’s lawsuit alleges that the officer who discharged his firearm was”in no immediate danger.”
A Black teenager in Illinois “bled out on the ground” for more than eight minutes without receiving aid after a Waukegan officer discharged his firearm on the vehicle he was sitting in, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the teenager’s mother on Thursday and local reports.
Zharvellis Holmes— Marcellis Stinnette’s mother— lawsuit names two officers, the city of Waukegan, and its police chief as defendants.
An officer fatally shot 19-year-old Stinnette and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Tafara Williams, during a “traffic stop” on October 20, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Waukegan Police Department hasn’t identified the officers involved, but Holmes’ lawsuit identified them as Dante Salinas — who fatally shot Stinnette and was later terminated— and Officer James Keating.
Numerous videos of the incident via body cam were released by the police department. In one video, the footage shows the couple in their car during their first interaction with the police on October 20 outside of Williams’ residence. The officer walked over to Stinnette and Williams and begins interrogating them.
“You’re Marcellis right?” an officer asks Stinnette in the video. Stinnette was eventually told he was under arrest. “Show me your hands pal,” the officer said. When Williams asked why her boyfriend was under arrest the officer responded, “Because I said.” The couple drove away from the police officer moments after.
Minutes later, a second officer approached the couple in his car and fired in weapon “in fear for his safety,” as the car reversed. According to the lawsuit, the officer was “in no immediate danger” and did not turn on his body cam until after the shooting.
“The fact that the officer who fired those shots did not turn on his body camera until after these young people were wounded and bleeding tells us all we need to know,” Antonio Romanucci, who is representing Williams, said in a press release. “He began to create his false narrative as soon as his camera was recording, but I promise you this lawsuit will uncover the truth.”
The lawsuit described Salinas’ actions as “malicious, willful and wanton” and said he fired his weapon into the couple’s vehicle “five times.”The lawsuit also argued that Officer Keating had no “probable cause” for attempting to arrest Stinnette.
“I want justice for Marcellis, the ultimate justice,” his father Selvin Holmes said, according to WGN-TV. “He did not deserve that.”
According to the Daily Beast, Salinas was involved in another incident where another man accused him of assaulting him during an arrest last year and recently filed a suit against him.
According to Holmes’ lawsuit, Stinnette wasn’t aided for his injuries and “bled out on the ground” for more than eight minutes. During a heart-wrenching Zoom call from the hospital, Williams told reporters on Tuesday that the police officers left Stinnette on the ground to die and covered him with a blanket.
“They laid Marcellis on the ground and covered him up with a blanket while he was still breathing,” Williams said in a clip posted by civil rights lawyer, Ben Crump, who is also representing her. “They wanted us to bleed out on the ground.”
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