On Oct. 22, the community in Waukegan, Illinois, came out into the streets in outrage after yet another racist police shooting. The night before, Marcellis Stinnette, a 19 year-old Black man and father, was killed by a Waukegan police officer during a “traffic stop.” Tafara Williams, Stinnette’s girlfriend, was also shot by the officer, and was hospitalized for her injuries.
Activists and community members marched through Downtown Waukegan, about 35 miles North of Downtown Chicago, demanding that the cop who killed Stinnette and injured Williams be held fully accountable. The march was attended by organizations including the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Lakefront Democratic Socialists of America and Black Lives Matter Lake County, as well as family members of George Floyd and Jacob Blake.
“What’s happening right now seems like a war on the African American community,” Waukegan activist Rayon Edwards told Liberation News. As racist police terror continues across the country, this characterization of war being waged on Black America by the state is certainly apt. Despite the forces of state repression, however, Edwards stressed the resolve of the community: “We will not be quiet, we will not lay down.”
No to racist militia terror!
People in Waukegan came out to stand against racism again on Oct. 30. Activists rallied outside the courthouse downtown where Kyle Rittenhouse, the white supremacist who killed two antiracist protesters in Kenosha in August, was in court for an extradition hearing.
Chants of “Indict, convict, send that murderer to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell!” highlighted the main demand of the community: that Rittenhouse be extradited to Wisconsin and be convicted for his crimes.
“There is a skewed sense of justice in our society,” said Tanner Masseth, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation. “A system where a white supremacist can drive across state lines and shoot three people, killing two, have his trial delayed, all while conservatives build his legal fund,” Masseth continued. “A society where killer cops walk free nationwide in places like Philadelphia, DC, Louisville, Chicago… and now Waukegan — Waukegan, a city where police account for nearly half of the city’s budget. That ain’t right!”
Later that day, the judge presiding over the hearing ruled that Rittenhouse was to be extradited to Wisconsin, where he is currently being held in Kenosha County Jail.