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Lawyers say police footage doesn’t show fatal shooting of Illinois Black man

DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) — Lawyers for a Black couple who were shot in their car by a suburban Chicago police officer said Wednesday that police video showed the bullet-riddled vehicle but not the shooting, which left a man dead and his girlfriend wounded.

The Waukegan police officer who fired the shots turned on his body camera after the Oct. 20 shooting and claimed the driver, 20-year-old Tafara Williams, had tried to run him over, one of her attorneys, Antonio Romanucci, told reporters outside of a state police post after viewing the video.

“That is the false narrative that we continue to talk about. This police officer has zero — absolute zero — credibility,” Romanucci said. “There should be no weight given to his self-serving statement for the use of deadly force against what clearly appears to be a stationary car, and his feet were stationary at the same time.”

Authorities said the officer — who was fired last week and whose name hasn’t been released — opened fire out of fear for his safety because the couple’s car reversed toward him during a traffic stop.

Marcellis Stinnette, who was 19 years old and in the front passenger seat, was killed and his girlfriend, Williams, was wounded.

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On Tuesday, Williams told reporters during a video call from her hospital bed that she and Stinnette didn’t do anything to provoke the shooting. She said after the shooting, Stinnette was badly wounded yet still breathing but the only help officers gave him was a blanket.

“They allowed him to die,” she said. “They wanted us to bleed out on the ground.”

The news conference held Wednesday by Romanucci and another lawyer for Williams, Ben Crump, differed from a briefing they held Tuesday, when they sounded optimistic about getting to the bottom of what happened. Instead, the attorneys said they suspected a coverup that began before the shooting when the officer failed to turn on his body camera as the situation was unfolding.

“It’s regrettable when you have officers who either were not trained properly or who intentionally and consciously made an effort not to turn on their bodycam video so we would see what they did to cause the death of Marcellis Stinnette and horrific injuries to Tafara Williams,” Crump said. “What we saw was just bits and pieces. … There was no need to use this excessive deadly force. There was no need. It was a traffic stop.”