More protests planned over police shooting of Black couple in Illinois

(Reuters) - Demonstrators will assemble for a second time on Saturday in Waukegan, Illinois, to demand answers about a police shooting that killed an unarmed Black man and wounded his girlfriend, a local organizer said.

More than a hundred people marched in Waukegan on Thursday to protest the Oct. 20 shooting which left 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette dead. Waukegan is a city in Lake County about 45 miles (72 km) north of Chicago.

Clyde McLemore, founder of the Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter, estimated that 200 to 300 people would gather from 4 p.m. on Saturday, including a group of protesters he was expecting to come by bus from Minnesota.

That will be followed with a prayer vigil on Sunday near where Stinnette and his girlfriend, Tafarra Williams, were shot during a traffic stop late on Tuesday, McLemore said.

The Waukegan Police Department has said a Hispanic male officer shot into the couple's car because it went into reverse when he approached it and he feared for his safety. No firearm was found in the vehicle, the police said.

Satrese Stallworth, a relative of Stinnette and a spokesperson for the family, said Williams was driving and suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen and wrist.

Stallworth said Stinnette had been in a bad car accident in August in which he broke his leg and wrist, requiring him to use a walker which he had with him in the vehicle.

"He was an unarmed passenger in the car," Stallworth said. "He posed no threat. So why is he no longer with us?"

Stallworth said she wants the police to release bodycam footage and has heard there are witnesses with video of the incident.

McLemore said protesters want the Department of Justice to investigate the shooting, rather than the state police, which are handling the investigation, as is normal procedure.

McLemore said Sam Cunningham, who in 2017 became Waukegan's first African American mayor, had called him to thank him for keeping the protests peaceful.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

10/23/2020 22:06

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