Lawsuits filed in fatal Waukegan police shooting by families of Marcellis Stinnette, Tafara Williams

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- Two lawsuits have been filed in the wake of a police shooting in Waukegan that left a young man dead and his girlfriend in the hospital.

Attorneys for both of their families are suing the officers involved as well as the city of Waukegan.

RELATED: Waukegan police release bodycam video in deadly shooting


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Waukegan police have released limited body camera video from a police shooting last week that killed a 19-year-old man and left a 20-year-old woman hospitalized.



What Waukegan police said started as a traffic stop investigating a suspicious vehicle quickly escalated to a police pursuit then a shooting, which was heard on a police dash camera video. The deadly shooting is now at the heart of two lawsuits.

"Why did it have to lead to somebody's death before they're doing it?" attorney Kevin O'Connor said. "In every one of these communities, it seems like nobody wants to take action until someone dies, when all the warning signs are there."

In a civil suit filed Thursday on behalf of Marcellis Stinnette's family, attorneys said police Officer Dante Salinas "discharged his firearm five times into the front and driver's side of driver, Tafara Williams' vehicle."

Police claim Williams, who survived, reversed toward the officer involved, but the lawsuit contends he was "in no immediate danger."

The complaint claims Salinas "failed to turn on his body camera before drawing his weapon."

Video released by the city of Waukegan shows the officer who fired the shots activated his body camera after the shots were fired.

"This was a breach of Waukegan Police Department policy and one of the reasons for the officer's termination," Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said.

Stinnette's family attorney said there is another lawsuit pending against the same officer for a confrontation with a Taser in August 2019.

"We're all after the same thing," Rick Hammond, the attorney for the City of Waukegan, said Wednesday. "We want to get the right answers and the right results."

Late Thursday, attorneys for Tafara Williams filed their own separate lawsuit, also alleging excessive force against the officers involved.

ABC7 reached out to the attorney for the city of Waukegan for comment on both lawsuits, but have not yet received a comment.
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