Girlfriend gives her account of how Waukegan police shot at her and Marcellis Stinnette
With tears in her eyes, 20-year-old Tafara Williams sat up in her hospital bed Tuesday and told how a Waukegan police officer kept shooting at her and her boyfriend, even though, she said, both had their hands raised and were unarmed.
"I kept screaming, 'I don't have a gun!' But he kept shooting," Williams said.
It was the first time Williams has publicly described the events of Oct. 20, when a Waukegan police officer wounded Williams and fatally shot her boyfriend, Marcellis Stinnette, and the father of her 7-month-old son, during what authorities have described as a traffic stop.
At a news conference outside Waukegan's city hall complex, attorneys for Williams and her family accused the fired officer of profiling Williams and her boyfriend. But they also expressed hope -- based on how the city has so far responded to the incident.
"We want to make this city, Waukegan, right now the example of accountability and transparency in policing. What Waukegan has done will give this family a sense of peace. It will not restore what has happened," Chicago attorney Antonio Romanucci said.
Williams, linked to the news conference via a Zoom feed, said the incident unfolded while she and Stinnette were sitting in her parked car.
Williams said she asked the officer if she and her boyfriend were under arrest. When he didn't answer and stepped away from her car to use his cellphone, Williams drove slowly away, she said.
A short while later, she drove onto Martin Luther King Drive, still in Waukegan, and came upon another officer waiting for them.
"There was a crash, and I lost control. The officer was shooting at us. The car ended up slamming into a building," Williams said.
Williams said she and Stinnette both had their hands up.
"I kept asking him, 'Why, why?' he was shooting," Williams said, adding, "More officers came and were pointing their guns at us. My blood was gushing out of my body."
She said officers laid Stinnette on the ground and covered him with a blanket, even as he continued to breathe.
"They wanted us to bleed out on the ground," she said.
• This report was produced in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times, and The Associated Press contributed. For more coverage, visit chicago.suntimes.com.