• Sun. Apr 11th, 2021


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Illinois Police Officer Fired After Fatally Shooting Black Man

An Illinois police officer who shot and killed a 19-year-old Black man who was sitting in a car that was reversing toward the officer has been fired, according to the police.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, was fired on Friday night, three days after the shooting, said Wayne Walles, the chief of police in Waukegan, Ill., 40 miles north of Chicago.

“The City of Waukegan terminated the officer that discharged his firearm during that incident, for multiple policy and procedure violations,” Chief Walles said in a statement on Friday.

The Illinois State Police said on Thursday that they were investigating the killing of the man, Marcellis Stinnette, who was in the passenger seat of a car being approached by the officer.

Once the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the office of the Lake County state’s attorney, Michael Nerheim, for review.

Mr. Nerheim said he asked the Justice Department on Wednesday, the day after the shooting, “to review the circumstances surrounding this incident.”

He said the Justice Department had agreed to examine the case.

“I am confident in the work being done by the Illinois State Police and welcome the assistance of the F.B.I.,” Mr. Nerheim said in a statement. “As I have said before, once the investigation is concluded, all the evidence will be reviewed and a final decision will be made with respect to any potential charges.”

Mr. Nerheim said it was “critical” to have “all available resources and as many independent fresh eyes as possible” on the case.

Mr. Nerheim added, “I continue to urge calm as we undertake this process and pledge complete transparency.”

The Waukegan police had said the officer, a Hispanic man who had been with the department for five years, opened fire on the car “in fear for his safety.”

Mr. Stinnette was with a woman when the officer approached the car they were in as part of an investigation.

The police have not said why the vehicle was being investigated.

The police said the car went into reverse toward the officer but did not describe how far the officer was from the car, how fast it was moving or any other details of the shooting, which prompted outrage among protesters and relatives of Mr. Stinnette and the driver. No gun was found inside the car, the police said.

The woman in the car was also shot and seriously injured. She was taken to a hospital where she remained as of Friday, the police said.

Clifftina Johnson said her daughter had been shot while driving the car and had undergone surgery for her injuries at a hospital on Thursday.

In a year of widespread demonstrations around the country against police violence and racial injustice, the killing of Mr. Stinnette touched off fresh protests in Waukegan.

The shooting came five months after George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. It also happened just 16 miles south of Kenosha, Wis., where Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was left partly paralyzed in August after a white police officer shot him seven times in the back.

On Thursday, Ms. Johnson urged demonstrators to speak out for justice.

“You have to stand and speak for the ones who are already gone,” she said.

Michael Levenson contributed reporting.