The city of Waukegan has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a man beaten in August 2019 by a police officer who fatally shot another man the following year, according to documents obtained by NBC 5 Investigates. That officer, Dante Salinas, was fired from the department following the shooting and has since been charged for both incidents.
On August 31, 2019, Angel Salgado said he was celebrating a baptism at his stepfather’s house and had just gone out to smoke a cigarette when Salinas approached, first with his gun drawn before pull over and fire his taser.
“Why are you pointing a gun at me? I’m not doing anything,” Salgado recalled last week.
Body-worn camera footage of the confrontation shows tensions building before Salinas deploys his taser.
“He told me I was under arrest, so I said to him, ‘What for? ‘” Salgado said. “He tackles me, he starts punching me in the face.”
More officers arrive and pin Salgado down, video shows. He is arrested – both his nose and eye socket are broken.
The following month, a memo from the deputy chief of the Waukegan Police Department to the commander of the Office of Professional Standards said Salinas’ use of force was “within department policy” but recommended “that it could be advantageous.” for him to review the incident with a sergeant.
“It would give Officer Salinas some tools he could use if he faced a similar situation in the future,” the memo reads.
In August 2020, Salgado filed a federal lawsuit against Salinas and the City of Waukegan, alleging the officer used excessive force and violated his civil rights.
Less than two months after that complaint was filed, on October 20, 2020, authorities say Salinas shot and killed 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette, who was a passenger in a vehicle chased by police. Salinas was fired from the department on Oct. 23, 2020, according to Waukegan police.
“He should never have been on the streets,” Salgado’s attorney Kevin O’Connor said. “I really blame the city of Waukegan for the death of Marcellis Stinnette.”
The settlement agreement for Salgado’s case, obtained via a public records request, shows the city agreed to pay him $300,000 to settle the lawsuit without admitting wrongdoing. The Waukegan City Council unanimously approved that amount on July 5 of this year, with the agreement signed on July 20 and the case dismissed the following week, records show.
On Thursday, Lake County prosecutors announced that Salinas had been charged in both incidents: grievous bodily harm and official misconduct for the beating of Salgado, as well as second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Stinnette. Salinas pleaded not guilty to all charges. If found guilty, he faces more than 20 years in prison. Attempts to reach Salinas for comment were unsuccessful.
Stinnette’s relatives said last week that the charges do justice – but will never bring him back.
“I don’t think there will ever be peace,” said Rayon Edwards, who said he has known Stinnette for years. “A life has been lost here, you know what I mean? A destroyed family.