Illinois cop’s bodycam was off during fatal shooting of black man

An Illinois police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man and seriously wounded his girlfriend turned on his bodycam after opening fire on the couple, video shows.

The footage, released Wednesday by the city of Waukegan, does not show the unidentified Hispanic officer who killed 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette and injured his girlfriend, Tafara Williams, on Oct. 20 when Williams’ car reversed abruptly after a traffic stop.

“I was right behind you,” the officer can be heard saying in the clip. “You almost tried to run me over.”

The bodycam footage was one of six short videos released Wednesday, along with dash camera and building surveillance footage — but none captured the shooting itself, leading attorneys for Williams to suggest the officer was either improperly trained or intentionally did not activate his camera.

“It’s like he was trying to cover up a narrative to justify this use of excessive force,” attorney Ben Crump said after viewing the footage prior to its public release. “What we saw was just bits and pieces … There was no need to use this excessive deadly force. There was no need. It was a traffic stop.”

Another attorney for Williams’ family said bullet holes in the car appeared to be on the driver’s side, suggesting the officer fired at a 90-degree angle rather than from the rear of the vehicle as it backed up toward him.

There also did not appear to be any gunshot damage to the windshield or rear window, attorney Antonio Romanucci said.

“This officer had an ‘Oh crap’ moment after the shooting, and pushed the [body camera] button,” Romanucci said. “He knew to push the button and say, ‘You tried to run me over.’ Those were his first words. That’s the justification.”

Police have also not indicated why the couple were first approached by another officer, who is white, prior to the shooting, the Lake County News-Sun reported.


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