Jemel Roberson: Demands for justice after Chicago-area police shoot dead 'hero' black security guard who successfully detained gunman

26-year-old father 'was protecting the club and holding a suspect down' when police opened fire

Harry Cockburn
Tuesday 13 November 2018 11:17 GMT
Witnesses respond to shooting of black security guard Jemel Roberson by police

The family of a “hero” security guard who apprehended a gunman in a bar before being shot dead by police has filed a $1m lawsuit.

Jemel Roberson, 26, was shot after he chased down the attacker in the bar in a Chicago suburb, and knelt on his back until the police arrived.

The incident occurred at roughly 4am on Sunday, after another security guard told a group of drunk men to leave the premises.

Witnesses said someone then returned to the bar with a gun and began shooting, resulting in four people being shot.

Roberson, the father of a nine-month-old boy, then managed to apprehend one of the suspects outside the bar, and knelt on his back until the police arrived.

Moments after the officers arrived on the scene, one opened fire and shot the security guard dead.

He was reportedly holding his own licensed gun and wearing a hat emblazoned with “Security” across the front when the police officer opened fire.

When police arrived, Roberson was holding “somebody on the ground with his knee in his back, with his gun in his back,” witness Adam Harris told WGN-TV.

“Everybody is screaming out, ‘He’s a security guard,”’ Mr Harris said.

“He was protecting the club and holding a suspect down,” Mr Harris added to CBS.

Roberson was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a hospital early on Sunday. Four other people were shot and wounded, including a man who authorities believe fired a gun before officers arrived, Cook County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sophia Ansari said.

Attorney Gregory Kulis filed the civil rights lawsuit, seeking more than $1m on behalf of Roberson’s mother, Beatrice Roberson.

“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 deceased at an area hospital,” Daniel Delaney, the chief of the Midlothian Police Department, said in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page.

Illinois State Police are handling the investigation into Roberson’s shooting. The agency said it would not comment on the investigation until it is completed.

While Roberson had a valid firearms owners’ identification card, he did not, however, have a concealed carry permit, police said.

The Reverend Marvin Hunter said Roberson was “an upstanding young man” and a promising keyboard player at his and several other area churches.

Roberson was trying to “get enough money together for a deposit on a new apartment,” said Reverend Hunter, the great-uncle of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager fatally shot by a white Chicago police officer in a high-profile 2014 case.

Roberson also had hopes of becoming a police officer, according to his son’s mother.

“This was going to be my baby’s first Christmas with his dad and now he’s going to miss out on everything,” said Avontea Boose.

Roberson is one of at least 840 people who have been shot and killed by police so far in 2018 and one of at least 19 in Illinois, according to a Washington Post database.

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The paper said at least 181 of those shot and killed by police this year – 22 percent – were black. The US population is about 13 per cent black.

Agencies contributed to this report

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