rain.png
Saturday June 19th, 2021 6:23PM

Woman injured in police shooting says cops let boyfriend die

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — A woman who was shot by police last week in suburban Chicago said Tuesday that officers did nothing more than cover her boyfriend with a blanket after he was shot and left him on the ground to die.

Tafara Williams, 20, spoke to reporters during a Zoom call from her hospital bed as she described the Oct. 20 shooting in Waukegan that killed 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette.

"They allowed him to die,” Williams said. “They wanted us to bleed out on the ground.”

In detailing what happened for the first time, Williams, who is Black, said she was sitting in her car in front of her home with Stinnette, who also was Black, smoking a cigarette. She said she did not want to smoke near their young child. She said a white officer pulled up and started to question her, telling Stinnette that she knew him from when he was in jail.

She said after she and Stinnette both raised their hands to show the officer that they were unarmed, she pulled away slowly. She said the officer did not follow her but that a short time later it seemed to her that another officer was “waiting for us.”

"There was a crash and I lost control. The officer was shooting at us. The car ended up slamming into a building. I kept screaming, ‘I don’t have a gun.’ But they kept shooting. He told me to get out of the car. I had my hands up, and I couldn’t move because I had been shot.”

She said that she could hear Stinnette breathing and begged the police to take him to the hospital first because he had recently had surgery, but her pleas were ignored.

“They laid Marcellis on the ground and covered him with a blanket while he was still breathing," she said. "I know he was still alive and they took that away from me.”

One of the attorneys representing Williams and Stinnette's family, Antonio Romanucci, said there was only one reason why the officer pulled up behind Williams and Stinnette in the first place.

“He profiled these people because of the color of their skin. That was their crime," he said.

Three days ago, Williams told protesters in a telephone call from her hospital bed that she would continue to fight for justice on Stinnette’s behalf. “He didn’t deserve it, and they waited for him to die,” she said Saturday on a call that a crowd of protesters heard after her mother put a megaphone to her cellphone.

The press briefing comes exactly one week after the shooting. Police have said the vehicle driven by Williams, with Stinnette in the passenger’s seat, fled a traffic stop conducted by a white officer. They said that a short time later, another officer, who is Hispanic, approached the vehicle, he opened fire out of fear for his own safety when the vehicle moved in reverse toward him. No weapon was found in the vehicle.

On Friday, the police department fired the officer who shot Williams and Stinnette. Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said last week that dashcam and bodycam videos of the shooting would be made public after relatives of the shooting victims have watched it.

The video is particularly important because the version of events given by police appears to contradict the version that Williams’ mother, Clifftina Johnson, gave after she visited her daughter in the hospital. Johnson has said that her daughter told her that she and Stinnette did nothing to provoke the officer before he opened fire.

Cunningham has urged the community to remain calm and to “respect” the process. Protests since the incident have been peaceful, and Waukegan has avoided the kind of looting and violence that occurred in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin, after a white police officer shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back seven times in August. Blake survived, but his family has said that he is paralyzed from the waist down.

Romanucci said a lawsuit would be filed, despite a pledge of transparency from Cunningham.

“Without that we can’t make the permanent changes that we require in this country and in this community," Romanucci said. "We want policy changes.”

An evening vigil at the location where Stinnette was killed was attended by activist the Rev. Al Sharpton and members of Stinnette’s family.

“He’s dead at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect us,” said Dhanellis Banks, Stinnette’s sister. “It’s not supposed to happen.”

Sharpton told those attending the vigil they were at the scene of a crime, adding the answer to a crime is not just firing a police officer.

"The answer is accountability,” he said.

Also attending the vigil was Stinnette’s mother, Zharvellis Holmes, who urged people to remain peaceful.

“We don’t want no looters,” she said. “We don’t want no violence. I don’t want anybody coming to burn anything.”

___

Babwin reported from Chicago; White reported from Detroit.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Wind a risk as California fires keep tens of thousands away
Crews are trying to beat back two out-of-control wildfires in Southern California that have kept tens of thousands of people out of their homes
1:00PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Voting by mail isn't so easy on Native American reservations
Native American voting advocates say the slow-moving nature of mail on large reservations puts the people who live there at a disadvantage to getting their votes counted
11:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hurricane warning for New Orleans as Zeta swirls over Mexico
A hurricane warning has been issued for the U.S. Gulf Coast including New Orleans
11:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
U.S. News
Voters in some states unable to cast early ballots in person
More than 21 million voters across the U.S. have already cast ballots in person amid record-breaking early turnout
1:26PM ( 3 minutes ago )
A look at artists who've objected to Trump using their songs
Dozens of artists have objected to Donald Trump using their music in his two presidential campaigns
1:21PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Panthers' McCaffrey back at practice after missing 5 games
Christian McCaffrey has been designated for return from the team’s injured reserve list, increasingly the likelihood the 2019 All-Pro running back will play Thursday night against the Falcons
1:05PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'We're working on it:' Pope's COVID advisers and the mask
Pope Francis’ decision to forgo wearing a mask has been noticed, with some concern, by the commission of Vatican experts he appointed to help chart the Catholic Church’s path through the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath
12:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
New protests loom as Europeans tire of virus restrictions
Italy is bracing for another day of nationwide protests against virus-fighting measures that have closed restaurants and bars early and shut down gyms and swimming pools
11:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
Barrett sworn in at court as issues important to Trump await
Amy Coney Barrett has been formally sworn in as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice
11:02AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Wind a risk as California fires keep tens of thousands away
Crews are trying to beat back two out-of-control wildfires in Southern California that have kept tens of thousands of people out of their homes
1:00PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Voting by mail isn't so easy on Native American reservations
Native American voting advocates say the slow-moving nature of mail on large reservations puts the people who live there at a disadvantage to getting their votes counted
11:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hurricane warning for New Orleans as Zeta swirls over Mexico
A hurricane warning has been issued for the U.S. Gulf Coast including New Orleans
11:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
After high court ruling, DOJ wants census challenges stopped
Now that the Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 census count, Department of Justice attorneys say the courts shouldn’t interfere with efforts to meet a year-end deadline for turning in numbers used for divvying up congressional seats by state
11:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
Protests flare in Philadelphia after police kill Black man
More than a dozen people were arrested and more than 30 officers injured in protests stemming from the police shooting death of a Black man in Philadelphia
11:35AM ( 1 hour ago )