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Officer Who Fired Shots That Killed Man And Injured Woman In Waukegan Identified As Dante Salinas; He Has Been In Trouble Before

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) -- CBS 2 has learned the police officer who opened fire on a young couple in Waukegan last week has been in trouble before.

As CBS 2's Chris Tye reported, a new lawsuit names the two officers involved in the fatal police shooting that happened a week ago Tuesday night in Waukegan.

The officer who is believed to have fired those fatal shots has a history of lawsuits against him, claiming behavior that goes way over the line.

at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, police fired at Marcellis Stinnette, 19, and his girlfriend, Tafara Williams inside their car after they fled a suspicious vehicle stop.

Stinnette is now dead. Williams remained hospitalized as of Thursday.

As state investigators work to determine charges, we are learning much more about the officer who chose the lethal option, identified as Officer Dante Salinas.

In a lawsuit filed late Wednesday, lawyers for Williams claim another officer, James Keating, made the initial contact at Liberty and Oak streets, while Salinas fired the shots after catching up with the car at South and Martin Luther King Jr. avenues.

The lawsuit claimed Salinas "used an unreasonable amount of force in relationship to the threat or force posed by the Plaintiff, who was not resisting any lawful arrest or threatening the life or safety of any police officers."

Attorneys said the officers had personal animosity toward the two in the car, and said the City of Waukegan was "encouraging, accommodating, or facilitating a 'blue code of silence'" in its police department.

The same officer who fired those shots last Tuesday was sued last year. A Waukegan man, Angel Salgado, was arrested while attending a family baptism – even though Salgado says he was "behaving lawfully."

Salgado's lawsuit said Salinas "struck the plaintiff in the face with the butt of his weapon, causing severe lacerations and several bone fractures."

"The City of Waukegan and a police chief that didn't take action," said Stinnette family attorney Kevin O'Connor.

In this week's lawsuit on behalf of Williams, the City of Waukegan was also blamed for improper training. Salgado's lawsuit last year claimed the same.

"They had actual knowledge of what was going to happen and what was going on in this community, and the tragedy that I warned them was going to happen," O'Connor said, "and yet, they still took no action."

Body cam and dashcam video from the police shooting that killed Stinnette and injured Williams was released on Wednesday.

As seen in the video, the fatal encounter begins with one officer – the one identified in the lawsuit as Keating - getting out to inspect what police called a suspicious vehicle at Liberty and Oak streets. Immediately, the officer seems to recognize Stinnette in passenger seat.

"What's your first name? You're Marcellis, right?" the officer is heard saying.

He then says, "You're under arrest, man." When Williams asks why Stinnette is under arrest, the officer replies, "because I said."

"Hey, come on, show me the hands, pal. I ain't playing with you because I know you. Marcellis, you're under arrest," the officer says.

"He's under arrest for what though?" Williams says.

"Because he got a warrant," the officer says.

The officer and Williams continue talking back and forth until Williams drives off.

"They just ran me over," the officer says.

Another officer, the one identified in the lawsuit as Salinas, picks up the chase. Police said he caught up with the car at Martin Luther King Jr. and South avenues.

Afterward, at least six and possibly seven shots are heard on dashcam videos. But the officer was never seen shooting, as his body cam was not on.

Salinas did not turn on his body cam until the shooting was over – a decision that got him fired from the department and had Stinnette's attorneys asking for transparency this week.

CBS 2 has reached out to the City of Waukegan for comment on all the new lawsuits that have been filed.

It will be up to Illinois State Police whether Salinas is criminally charged. There was no word on the status of that investigation Thursday night.

The FBI is also involved in the investigation.

The CBS 2 Investigators also searched for an active warrant for Stinnette – given that Officer Keating was heard in the video saying he was going to arrest Stinnette over a warrant. No warrant was found.

There was a warrant for an arrest in December, but that was cleared. So according to court records and a court official, there are no active warrants.

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