A black woman who was seriously injured in a police shooting in suburban Chicago that saw her black boyfriend shot dead this week claims they did nothing to provoke the shooting.
Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was killed and his girlfriend and the mother of his child, Tafara Williams, was seriously injured when a police officer in Waukegan opened fire on Tuesday night.
Police have said the car, which was being driven by Williams, fled as a white officer approached them following a traffic stop just before midnight.
The same vehicle was spotted a little later by another officer, according to police.
As the second officer approached the car, police said Williams started reversing towards him and he fired his gun into the vehicle.
Police said no weapon was found in the vehicle.
Marcellis Stinnette, 19, (left) was killed and his girlfriend and the mother of his child, Tafara Williams, (right) was seriously injured when a police officer in Waukegan opened fire on Tuesday night
Speaking from her hospital bed on Thursday, Tafara Williams – who was shot in the stomach and hand – said she and her boyfriend had done nothing to provoke the shooting and questioned why officers fired
Speaking from her hospital bed on Thursday, Williams – who was shot in the stomach and hand – told ABC7 that they had done nothing to provoke the shooting and questioned why officers fired.
‘Why did you shoot? I didn’t do nothing wrong. I have a license. You didn’t tell me I was under arrest,’ she said.
‘Why did you just flame up my car like that? Why did you shoot?’
Williams’ mother, Clifftina Johnson, said her daughter had also insisted they hadn’t done anything wrong when she first visited her in hospital.
‘When I got there, she said, ‘Mama, they just shot us for nothing’,’ her mother, Clifftina Johnson, said.
‘My daughter said she put her hand up, and if she didn’t put her hand up, she said, ‘Mama, I would be dead’.’
Williams’ mother said her daughter had asked about her boyfriend but that she initially didn’t have the heart to tell her that he was dead.
Police have so far not confirmed why the couple had been pulled over for the initial traffic stop.
Demonstrators took to the streets to protest after the police shooting of the unarmed black couple on Tuesday night in Waukegan
Local Black Lives Matter organizer Clyde McLemore (above) said he wants the police officers involved to be prosecuted. He called on the Department of Justice to step in and investigate the shooting rather than the state police
The families of the couple are demanding authorities release any video that might have shown what happened, as well as further information about the shooting.
The officer who shot the couple is Hispanic and a five-year veteran of the Waukegan Police Department. The white officer who initially stopped the couple is also a five-year veteran of the department.
The body camera and squad car video that the family wants released to the public have been turned over to Illinois State Police.
Waukegan police Commander Edgar Navarro said state police is investigating the incident and will present findings to the local prosecutor’s office.
Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim noted that it may be several weeks before the investigation is complete.
Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham, who knows the families of the couple personally, said the shooting had affected him personally.
‘This is tough on this community. I know this family personally. Their great-grandmother used to babysit me. To speak to them about this, yeah it hurts,’ Cunningham said.
‘I’m a black man who grew up in that same neighborhood. It could have been me.’
Sherrellis Sheria Stinnette, grandmother of Marcellis Stinnette, cried as she spoke of her grandson on Thursday in Waukegan
Rayon Edwards speaks on a megaphone as he marches with protesters during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette on Thursday
Cunningham asked residents to wait until all the facts are known before reacting to the shooting, saying there was a lot of ‘uncertainty’ and ‘rumors flying around’.
He added that he was nervous for Waukegan given the recent unrest that has occurred in other parts of the country.
‘I’m nervous for Waukegan. We’ve seen this play out through this country. It just rips through communities, and it takes years to rebuild,’ he said.
A protest held on Thursday in Waukegan started with a few dozen people at the site of the shooting before marching on to the police headquarters.
Local Black Lives Matter organizer Clyde McLemore said he wants the police officers involved to be prosecuted.
He called on the Department of Justice to step in and investigate the shooting rather than the state police.
‘We are tired of the police investigating the police,’ he said.
The rally held on Thursday was peaceful.
‘We’re not here to rip up our own town,’ McLemore said.
Waukegan is about 15 miles south of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where violent protests erupted after black man Jacob Blake was left paralyzed after being shot seven times in the back by police in August.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of nearby Antioch, Illinois, is accused of shooting and killing two protesters two nights later.
Both of the officers involved in the Waukegan incident have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.