A group of protesters descended upon an Illinois city to demand answers in the death of a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop, according to reports.
Roughly 100 people on foot and another 100 following in cars protested Thursday in Waukegan, where Marcellis Stinnette and his girlfriend, Tafara Williams, 20, were shot Tuesday when their vehicle started moving in reverse as the officer approached, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A Hispanic cop who said he feared for his life opened fire on the pair, both of whom are black, as he approached the car late Tuesday. No gun was found inside the vehicle, police said.
“My grandson died with a smile on his face,” Stinnette’s grandmother, Sherrellis Sheria Stinnette, told the Tribune during Thursday’s protest. “And the police officer, he’s forgiven. I didn’t say what [the officer] did was right, because it’s not, but we all have to answer come Judgment Day.”
Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting, but some who attended Thursday’s demonstration are calling on federal authorities to get involved.
“We don’t want the police investigating the police,” Clyde McLemore of the Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter said. “We want the Department of Justice coming in.”
A preliminary autopsy released Thursday showed that Stinnette, who was a passenger in Williams’ car, died from injuries due to a gunshot at a hospital, the Tribune reported.
Williams, meanwhile, remained in a hospital after having two surgeries for gunshot wounds to the abdomen and arm, her mother said.
“My daughter wants to speak – it doesn’t matter how many shot you gave her,” Clifftina Johnson told the newspaper.
Williams, a mother of two, told WLS-TV from her hospital bed Thursday that she did “nothing wrong” prior to the deadly gunfire.
“Why did you shoot?” Williams told the station, speaking directly to the officer. “I didn’t do nothing wrong. I have a license. You didn’t tell me I was under arrest. Why did you just flame up my car like that? Why did you shoot?”
State police investigators will present their findings to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office for review upon completing the probe. Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said Tuesday those investigations can take time, but noted his office would file charges against the officers involved if evidence warrants.
“I am certainly aware these situations are potentially volatile and elicit many emotions,” Nerheim said in statement. “I strongly urge and hope for continued calm and patience as the investigation takes place.”
The officer who shot the pair, as well as a second cop who is white, have been placed on administrative leave, WLS-TV reported.