Girlfriend of man fatally wounded in Chicago-area police shooting accuses cops of letting him die

Tafara Williams claims officers 'wanted us to bleed out on the ground'

The girlfriend of the man shot and killed during a police traffic stop in a Chicago-area city last week said Tuesday that Waukegan police let her boyfriend die after they opened fire at the car she was driving.

Tafara Williams, 20, spoke from her Illinois hospital bed where she has been recovering since the Oct. 20 shooting in Waukegan, which is roughly 40 miles north of Chicago. She was driving and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette, was in the passenger seat when they were shot during a traffic stop, while both were seated inside the vehicle, officials have previously said.

Marcellis Stinnette

Marcellis Stinnette

"They allowed him to die,” Williams said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference with attorneys and family. “They wanted us to bleed out on the ground.”

In detailing what happened for the first time, Williams – a mother of two children, including a 7-month-old whom she had with Stinnette – said she was simply sitting in her car in front of her home with Stinnette smoking because she did not want to smoke near their young child. She said a white officer pulled up and started to question her, telling Stinnette, who is Black, that he knew him from when he was in jail.

She added that the officer asked her, "If I was Tafara," and told her she was his "baby mother." 

Williams said after she and Stinnette both raised their hands to show the officer that they were unarmed, she pulled the car away slowly. She said the officer did not follow her but that a short time later it seemed to her that another officer was “waiting for us." 

She recalled through tears how she lost control of the car and crashed.

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“The officer was shooting at us. The car ended up slamming into a building,” she recalled. “I kept screaming, ‘I don’t have a gun.’ But he kept shooting.”

Williams said she and Stinnette had their hands up.

Marcellis Stinnette's grand mother Sherrellis Stinnette speaks during protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who killed by Waukegan Police Tuesday in Waukegan, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Marcellis Stinnette's grand mother Sherrellis Stinnette speaks during protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who killed by Waukegan Police Tuesday in Waukegan, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

“I kept asking him, why, why he was shooting,” she continued. “Marcellis kept shaking … My blood was gushing out of my body. The officers are yelling. They wouldn’t give an ambulance until we got out the car.”

She said that she could hear Stinnette breathing and begged the police to take him to the hospital first because he had recently had surgery, but her pleas were ignored.

“They laid Marcellis on the ground and covered him with a blanket while he was still breathing," she said.

Stinnette was taken to an area hospital, but could not be saved. 

"I know he was still alive and they took that away from me," she added. 

One of the attorneys representing Williams and Stinnette's family, Antonio Romanucci, said there was only one reason why the officer pulled up behind Williams and Stinnette in the first place.

“He profiled these people because of the color of their skin. That was their crime," he said.

A Waukegan Police Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News' request seeking comment. 

People march during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who was killed by Waukegan Police last Tuesday in Waukegan, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

People march during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who was killed by Waukegan Police last Tuesday in Waukegan, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Police previously said the vehicle fled a traffic stop conducted by a white officer. They said the second officer opened fire out of fear for his own safety when the vehicle moved in reverse toward him. No weapon was found in the vehicle.

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The officer who opened fire, identified only as a Hispanic man, was fired on Friday by Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles, who said in a brief statement that the officer, a five-year veteran of the department, had committed “multiple policy and procedure violations.”

Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said on Sunday that dashcam and bodycam videos of the shooting would be made public after relatives of the shooting victims have watched it. Officials said they are likely to release the video this week.

The video is particularly important because the version of events given by police appears to contradict the version that Williams’ mother, Clifftina Johnson, gave after she visited her daughter in the hospital. Johnson has said that her daughter told her that she and Stinnette did nothing to provoke the officer before he opened fire.

Crump on Tuesday praised Cunningham for his openness and willingness to make sure the truth of what happens comes out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.