The Illinois State Police, which is conducting the initial investigation into the police-involved killing of Jemel Roberson, released findings on Tuesday that contradict reported witness statements.
A Midlothian officer shot Roberson, an armed security guard, on Sunday while he was apprehending a man suspected of firing a weapon inside the nightclub where Roberson worked.
“Upon his arrival, Midlothian Police Officer encountered a subject in plain black clothing with no markings readily identifying him as a security guard, armed with a gun in the west parking lot. 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 subject,” the state police narrative said.
Contrary to the police version, witnesses and Roberson’s attorneys have said that Roberson was wearing a hat and shirt with the word “security” emblazoned on them when the officer killed him. In fact, a security shirt was part of his regular uniform at the nightclub.
The report omits that witnesses yelled to the police officer that Roberson was a security guard apprehending a shooter.
“He had somebody on the ground with his knee in his back, with his gun in his back like, ‘Don’t move,’” witness Adam Harris told WGN-TV. “Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!’ He was a security guard. And they still did their job, and saw a Black man with a gun, and basically killed him.”
Roberson was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
He was a church musician and the father of a 9-month old son named Tristan. The child’s mother is currently pregnant with their second child, according to a statement from Merritt Law Office, which has been retained to represent Roberson’s family.