Confusion and anger after security guard holding suspect was shot by police, video shows
As Jemel Roberson laid motionless in the parking lot of a suburban Chicago bar, patrons stood feet away wailing and yelling at a group of law enforcement officers.
More than a dozen videos released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office this week show the commotion after Roberson was shot by a Midlothian, Illinois, police officer outside the Manny’s Blue Room Lounge in November.
“Your man shot my man. The police shot security. That’s what happened,” a distraught security guard at the bar told the officers.
The videos, recorded by police dash cameras, body cameras and bystander cellphones, only show the aftermath of the shooting and not the moment when Roberson was fatally shot. It’s unclear whether any footage of the shooting exists.
The 26-year-old security guard was on duty at the bar in Robbins, Illinois, when a gunman started shooting. Witnesses said Roberson stopped the shooter and pinned him to the ground. But shortly afterward, the Midlothian officer shot and killed Roberson.
While witnesses said the guard was wearing clothes that clearly identified him as security, Illinois State Police, the agency leading the investigation, said Roberson was wearing “plain black clothing with no markings readily identifying him as a security guard.”
In a statement, Cara Smith, chief policy officer at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, said the agency released the videos in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and “in the interest of transparency.”
Smith also declined to comment on the criminal investigation, saying detectives “continue to work diligently to investigate the initial shooting at Manny’s in Robbins.”
Multiple videos recorded outside the club show officers and paramedics tending to Roberson, and later taking him away from the parking lot on a stretcher.
A man dressed in a black vest, who said he was also a security guard, can be seen in a couple of videos talking with an officer.
“Somebody opened the side door. He come in and fired like (inaudible) five shots,” he says before recounting to the officer how Roberson was holding an alleged gunman to the ground.
“Everything was clear. Everything was down. Everything was down, bruh,” he added.
The man then describes the moment the Midlothian officer opened fire.
“I’m telling him, ‘He’s working with us. Cool out. He’s working with us.’ He shot him four or five times after we told him he’s with us,” he said.
He continues, “I want his name. I want his badge number.”
Illinois State Police described the events differently in the days after the incident.
“According to witness statements, the Midlothian Officer gave the armed subject multiple verbal commands to drop the gun and get on the ground before ultimately discharging his weapon and striking” the security guard, police had said in a statement.
Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney had described the shooting as “the equivalent of a ‘blue on blue’ friendly fire incident.”