WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — The now-fired officer who shot and killed a Waukegan man and wounded his girlfriend last month was the subject of a disputed use-of-force incident last year, but he was never disciplined for it.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey dug into Officer Dante Salinas’ personal records on Friday.
The incident is now the subject of a civil lawsuit. Waukegan police records say the use of force was deemed “justified.”
But the plaintiff’s legal team argues that the video shows otherwise.
Newly released video from late on the night of Tuesday, Oct. 20, shows that Salinas fired shots just 12 seconds after walking up to the vehicle in which Marcellis Stinnette was a passenger and his girlfriend, Tafara Williams, was behind the wheel.
Recently-released video documents the first time you hear Officer Salinas explain why he fired into the car, as he is interviewed by another officer.
“It backed up right at me; it was in between my squad car…. I fired my weapon because I thought I was the next one run over,” Salinas says.
Stinnette was shot and killed. Williams was injured.
Not long afterward, Salinas was terminated for “multiple policy and procedure violations.”
A civil lawsuit claims it wasn’t the first time Salinas had gone against procedures. Body camera video of the earlier incident at a family baptism in September 2019 has been obtained by the CBS 2 Investigators.
Police reports said the man shown in the video, Angel Salgado, flagged Salinas down – and then Salgado “kept yelling and advancing in a menacing manner.”
Salinas deployed his Taser and eventually tackled Salgado to the ground, striking him in the face with the butt of his gun.
Police records show that several internal reviews of the body cam determined that the actual use of force was “within department policy.”
Salgado’s lawyer could not disagree more.
“He overreacted to the situation he escalated the situation,” said attorney Kevin O’Connor. “The audio doesn’t come on for 30 seconds. During that 30 second. my client described that he was screaming out the window at him, yelling – very rude, very disrespectful.”
We discovered that Salinas was never disciplined in that incident.
In a final memo on the incident, Salinas’ commander said Salinas should review the tape, saying, “This would give Officer Salinas some of tools he could use if faced with a similar situation in the future.”
As for the Stinnette case last month, police said Stinnette had a warrant out of Florida.
On Friday, when we asked for a copy, we were told the information was taken from a database and it does not appear police ever had a copy. Stinnette’s lawyer told us there was no outstanding active warrant for him.
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