Less than a week ago, Tafara Williams saw her boyfriend and the father of her infant child shot dead in front of her. Williams, 20, was in the driver’s seat of a car, while her boyfriend, Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was seated in the passenger seat next to her. Shot by a suburban Chicago police officer on Tuesday, Williams was still in a hospital bed on Saturday but mustered the strength to speak to a rally full of supporters.
Her mother, Clifftina Johnson, put a megaphone up to her cellphone so the 200-person crowd could hear Williams. Nearby, a family member held Williams’ 7-month-old child.
“Don’t allow them to do this to us. No justice, no peace. I won’t sleep until Marcellis gets justice. He didn’t deserve it, and they waited for him to die. No justice, no peace. And my son don’t have a father no more, but I’m fighting for him, and I’m in this hospital, and I’m trying to be strong,” she told the crowd, according to the Daily Herald.
Protesters at the rally, organized by Clyde McLemore, head of the Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter, called for a special prosecutor to investigate the police shooting and to release the name of the Waukegan police officer who shot Stinnette and Williams, both of whom are Black.
The shooting happened during a traffic stop on Tuesday. Police say that Williams and Stinnette were pulled over by a white police officer in Waukegan, Ill., about 40 miles north of Chicago. Police say Williams and Stinnette fled the scene of the traffic stop. They were found later by a second officer, who approached Williams and Stinnette’s vehicle. According to the officer, the vehicle started to move in reverse, causing the cop to fear for his safety. He fired several shots at the car, wounding Williams and killing Stinnette.
But the police story contradicts accounts from the victim’s family. Stinnette’s cousin Satrese Stallworth has said that Williams never fled the first officer who stopped her, but was allowed to continue onward.
The officer who shot the couple, who has not been named, is reportedly Hispanic and had been with the Waukegan police department for five years. The Associated Press reports Police Chief Wayne Walles announced that the officer had been fired last Friday for “multiple police and procedure violations” according to a short statement.
The FBI and Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting, as are the families of Williams and Stinnette.
“The firing of the officer involved in this week’s tragic and senseless shooting in Waukegan is a first step in police accountability, but does nothing to restore the life and health of the two young people involved,” said attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who are representing the families.
Activists not only called for the officer to be arrested, but to be charged with murder and attempted murder for the fatal shooting.
“Whatever the FBI finds we want a special prosecutor brought in,” activist and rally organizer McLemore told the AP. “We want the name of the police officer released because firing the police officer only allows him to go to another police department and get a job somewhere else and do this again.”