CHICAGO (CBS) – A former Waukegan policeman who shot and killed 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette and injured Stinnette’s girlfriend during a chase in 2020 is now charged with m*rder and mansl*ughter.
Dante Salinas was charged with three second-degree m*rders and one mansl*ughter in Stinnette, according to a Lake County court record.
Salinas shot and killed Stinnette and injured his girlfriend, Tafara Williams, on October 20, 2020, during a chase after they escaped from an earlier stop in Waukegan. Williams was seriously injured but survived.
Before the shooting, Williams and Stinnette escaped from a suspicious vehicle stop. Officer James Keating stopped them saying he would arrest Stinnette on an outstanding warrant, but they took off.
Salinas later located them and kept them. Salinas fired the shots just 12 seconds after approaching the vehicle with Stinnette as a passenger and Williams behind the wheel.
A search warrant from the night of the shootout claims Stinnette had an outstanding Florida leave warrant for violating the probation. But it wasn’t tradable, which meant Stinnette wouldn’t be sent back for her.
did not show the actual shooting as Salinas did not activate the body camera until after shooting Stinnette and Williams – .
The recording documented Salinas explaining why he shot the car while being questioned by another officer.
“It was coming back right at me; it was between my police car… I fired the gun because I thought I was the one to be run over, ”says Salinas.
A camera on the dashboard of Salinas ‘vehicle shows him following the couple’s car before the shootout as Williams’ car pulls off the road onto Martin Luther King Jr. and South Avenue. As Salinas gets out of his squad car, the couple’s car begins to back up, but Salinas is not visible in this footage, so it’s unclear from the video if he was in the car’s path before the shot was fired.
“I was right behind you and you almost tried to run over me!” you can hear the officer screams.
From a different angle, the reversing car hits a brick wall. At this point, Stinnette and Williams were shot.
The shooting wasn’t the only time Salinas got into trouble. He has a history of lawsuits against him, claiming the behavior crosses the line.
He was sued in 2019 after a Waukegan man, Angel Salgado, was arrested at a family baptism – despite Salgado saying he “acted lawfully.”
According to police reports, Salgado stopped Salinas, and then Salgado “kept shouting and moving in a menacing manner.”
Salinas used a stun gun and eventually knocked Salgado to the ground, hitting him in the face with the butt of the pistol.
Police records show that several internal body camera inspections revealed that the actual use of force was “within the department’s policy.”
But Salgado’s lawyers said Salinas had exaggerated and escalated the situation by saying the body camera footage of the incident did not turn on for 30 seconds.
“During those 30 seconds my client wrote about it [Salinas] he yelled at him through the window, he screamed – very rude, very disrespectful, ”said attorney Kevin O’Connor in 2020.
although in the incident’s final note of the incident, Commander Salinas said that Salinas should review the tape, saying, “This would give Officer Salinas some tools he could use if faced with a similar situation in the future.”
Williams also filed a lawsuit against Salinas, accusing him of using “unreasonable force in connection with the threat or force of a Complainant that did not resist any lawful arrest or endangered the lives or safety of police officers.”
Attorneys said Salinas and Keating had a personal dislike for Williams and Stinnette, and said the city of Waukegan “encouraged, adapted, or facilitated a” blue code of silence “in its police department.
Williams’s lawsuit also blames the city of Waukegan for improper training, as does Salgado’s lawsuit.
It was clear in the footage of the night of the shooting that Keating immediately recognized Stinnette in the passenger seat after he first stopped the steam vehicle on Liberty and Oak Streets.
– What’s your name? You’re Marcellis, aren’t you? Keating said.
Then he said, “You’re under arrest, man.” When Williams asks why Stinnette is arrested, the officer replies, “because I said.”
“Hey, come on, show me your hands, buddy. I’m not playing with you because I know you. Marcellis, you’re under arrest, ”said Keating.
– But what is he under arrest for? Williams said.
“Because he got a warrant,” the officer said.
The officer and Williams continued their conversation until Williams drove off.
“They just ran over me,” Keating said.
Then Salinas resumed the pursuit, which ended in shooting at Williams and Stinnette.
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