Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was killed and his girlfriend was wounded in the Oct. 2020 shooting. A former suburban Chicago police officer has been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter after killing a black teen and injuring his girlfriend while on patrol.
According to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office, a grand jury indicted former Waukegan Police Officer Dante Salinas in connection with the October 2020 fatal shooting of 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette and the wounding of his girlfriend, Tafara Williams.
“My grandson’s blood is crying out from the grave, ‘Grandma, we need justice!’, and we’re finally getting justice,” Stinette’s grandmother, Sherrellis Stinnette, told CBS Chicago.
Stinnette was a passenger in the vehicle on the night of Oct. 20, 2020, when another officer pulled over Williams, who was driving the couple’s car. When Williams took off, the officer began questioning them.
Salinas responded after the officer requested backup.
Williams crashed the car and was “in the process of reversing and attempting to leave the area as Officer Salinas exited his squad car,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement. “The car did not hit Salinas. While standing next to Ms. Williams’ vehicle and clear of its path, Officer Salinas fired several shots into the driver’s side of the vehicle as it continued to reverse past him.”
According to the state’s attorney’s office, six shots were fired. “These charges come after months of investigation by my team,” State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Richard said his office hired a trajectory expert to analyze the “Illinois State Police’s investigation and to fully explain the timeline of the incident, the location of Salinas, and the trajectory of his bullets.”
“Our forensic expert traveled to the area after the Illinois State Police completed their investigation and painstakingly studied the car, the intersection, the video footage, and the bullets themselves,” he said. “His work was even more important because Officer Salinas did not turn on his body camera. We received the final report from our expert in July 2022. We presented that matter to the Grand Jury yesterday.”
According to the state’s attorney’s office, neither Williams nor Marcellis Stinnette had a gun or any other weapon on them at the time.
In connection with a 2019 incident in which he allegedly tasered, tackled, and punched a man, breaking his eye socket, Salinas was also charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and official misconduct.
Salinas turned himself into authorities on Thursday. According to his lawyer, Douglas Zeit, he has entered a not guilty plea. A court hearing is set for November 15. Williams was arrested on charges of Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding. She has entered a not guilty plea.