Shooting of Jemel Roberson

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Shooting of Jemel Roberson
JemelRobersonProtest Midlothian, Illinois.png
Protestors outside of the Midlothian Village Hall shortly after protesting inside the Village Hall
DateNovember 11, 2018; 2 years ago (2018-11-11)
Time4:00 a.m. (CDT)
LocationManny's Blue Room Bar, Robbins, Illinois, US
CauseMultiple gun-shot wounds
ParticipantsJemel Roberson (deceased) Midlothian Police Officer Ian Covey
DeathsJemel Roberson
Non-fatal injuriesFour unidentified individuals (includes original gunman)
InquiriesIllinois State Police
CoronerCook County Medical Examiner
LitigationFederal lawsuit against the Midlothian Police Officer, and the Village of Midlothian which alleges excessive force during an unprovoked, unjustified, and unreasonable shooting

On November 11, 2018, Jemel Roberson, a 26-year-old African American security guard for Manny's Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois, was fatally shot by Ian Covey, a Midlothian police officer responding to a call of shots fired at the bar.[1] Roberson was working for the bar as a security guard when four people were non-fatally shot by a gunman. After Roberson subdued and pinned the shooter to the ground, he was shot by a Midlothian police officer arriving at the scene.

Covey was placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting was investigated. Witnesses stated that Roberson was wearing a vest that had the word "SECURITY" printed on it, while an Illinois State Police (ISP) preliminary investigation stated he was wearing plain black clothing with no markings identifying him as security. The ISP report stated the Midlothian officer gave Roberson "multiple verbal commands" to drop his gun and get on the ground, while witnesses said the officer shot Roberson "not even five seconds" after ordering Roberson to drop the gun he had in his hand.[2][3][4]

Jemel Roberson[edit]

Jemel Roberson was a security guard at the Manny's Blue Room bar in Robbins, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. At the time of his death, Roberson had a 9-month-old son.[5] Roberson himself was an aspiring police officer.[5] He was a 2010 graduate from the Lane Tech High School in the Chicago area, where he had played on the school's basketball team.[6] Apart from working as a security guard, Roberson was also an organist for several local churches, and was supposed to play at the New Spiritual Light Baptist Church later on the day of the shooting.[7] According to the Cook County Sheriff's Office, Roberson was licensed to carry a gun.[5]

Shooting[edit]

Around 4 a.m., multiple law-enforcement agencies, including the Midlothian police, responded to 9-1-1 calls of a shooting at Manny's Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois.[8] Prior to police arrival, a security guard had requested a group of drunk men to leave the bar and an armed suspect had returned and opened fire. In response, armed security guards returned fire, and Roberson apprehended the suspect outside the bar.[9] Eyewitnesses claimed that Roberson had the suspect pinned to the ground with his knee when police arrived and fatally shot Roberson,[10] after multiple bystanders had shouted warnings that Roberson was a security guard.[11]

An eyewitness told reporters that after the shooting, another officer had turned to the officer involved and said, "Man you didn't have to do that, you didn't have to do that. We know these guys. We told you they're security."[12]

A statement by the Midlothian police chief said, "Upon arrival, Officers learned there were several gunshot victims inside the bar. A Midlothian Officer encountered a subject with a gun and was involved in an officer involved shooting. The subject the officer shot was later pronounced dead at an area hospital."[13]

Investigation and legal proceedings[edit]

The Illinois State Police are handling the investigation into the fatal shooting of Roberson. The officer was placed on a paid administrative leave in the meantime. The officer has been with the Midlothian police department for almost seven years, assigned to the patrol division, and is also a SWAT team leader.[6][14]

The police department initially argued that Roberson had ignored "verbal commands" before the shooting, but later released a second statement claiming that the shooting had been a case of "friendly fire," and that Roberson’s death was a tragic accident. After previously identifying Roberson as an "armed subject" in reports, Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney issued a November statement calling Roberson "a brave man who was doing his best to end an active shooter situation."[15]

On November 12, 2018, an autopsy showed that Roberson had been shot multiple times, and the death was ruled a homicide.[16][17] The same day, Roberson's mother filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Village of Midlothian and the officer who shot Roberson.[6][18]

Protests[edit]

Shortly after the death of Roberson, multiple protests ensued in Midlothian, but most were centered around the Midlothian Police Department and Village Hall.[19] Later on, amidst the George Floyd Protests, Midlothian residents would protest the shooting of Roberson once again.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Struett, David (November 11, 2018). "Security guard shot dead by officer responding to suburban bar shooting". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  2. ^ Nolan, Mike (December 17, 2018). "Cop in fatal shooting of security guard in 'very real fear for his life,' Midlothian says". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "US police kill black security guard 'hero'". BBC News. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  4. ^ Koeske, Matthew Walberg, Zak (November 11, 2018). "Witness to shooting of security guard Jemel Roberson: Officer opened fire 'not even 5 seconds' after warning". Daily Southtown. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Lawsuit: Illinois guard shot by police had on security hat". Washington Post. November 13, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Victory, Lauren (November 12, 2018). "Friends Remember Jemel Roberson, Security Guard Allegedly Killed by Midlothian Police Officer". CBS Chicago. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  7. ^ "Police Officer Responding to Shooting Near Chicago Kills Security Guard, Authorities Say". New York Times. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Cauguiran, Cate (November 11, 2018). "Midlothian police officer shoots bouncer at Robbins night club". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  9. ^ "Officer shoots, kills armed security guard outside south suburban bar". WGN-TV. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  10. ^ Betz, Bradford (November 12, 2018). "Cop accidentally kills security guard at bar in Chicago suburbs: report". Fox News. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "Illinois officer responds to gunfire, fatally shoots guard". KSNW. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Koeske, Matthew Walberg, Zak. "Witness to shooting of security guard Jemel Roberson: Officer opened fire 'not even 5 seconds' after warning". Daily Southtown. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  13. ^ "Black security guard who stops shooter is then shot and killed by police". The Hill. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  14. ^ Koeske, Zak (November 13, 2018). "Midlothian police officer who fatally shot security guard Jemel Roberson placed on administrative leave, officials say". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  15. ^ Lockhart, P. R. (November 12, 2018). "A black security guard caught a shooting suspect — only to be shot by police minutes later". Vox. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  16. ^ Struett, David (November 11, 2018). "Security guard shot dead by officer responding to suburban bar shooting". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  17. ^ "US police shoot black security guard 'hero'". The Week. November 13, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  18. ^ "Police Officer Responding to Shooting Near Chicago Kills Security Guard, Authorities Say". New York Times. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  19. ^ "'We Are Devastated'; Community To Protest After White Officer Kills Black Security Guard Jemel Roberson". CBS Chicago. November 13, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  20. ^ Terry, Jermont (June 8, 2020). "Amid Marches And Protests, Family Calls For Justice For Jemel Roberson, Security Guard Shot Dead By Midlothian Officer". CBS Chicago. Retrieved July 6, 2020.