A white police officer’s implicit racial bias is to blame for the shooting death of a Black security guard in a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach in suburban Chicago over the weekend, one of the attorneys representing the victim’s family. Jemel Roberson was killed trying to subdue a gunman when the cop shooting happened.
Roberson was working security on Sunday at a nightclub in Robbins, Illinois, when a gunman opened fire inside the nightclub. He apprehended the gunman outside the bar when a Midlothian police officer, responding to a report about gunfire, shot and killed the Roberson, who was armed and licensed to carry a gun.
“He had somebody on the ground with his knee in 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.”
On Tuesday, the Illinois State Police released a report that contradicted what several witnesses have said. Investigators claimed that the still unidentified officer ordered Roberson to drop his weapon and that Roberson was wearing “plain black clothing with no markings readily identifying him as a security guard.”
Contrary to the report, Roberson “was marked three times over” with the word security, Merritt said. He wore a black cap, vest and jacket with the word security written in white letters, the attorney underscored.
“Investigators claim ‘all the shooter saw was black.’ That is exactly the problem. It seems all cops ever see is black,” Merritt tweeted.
The lawyer also pointed out that witnesses yelled to the officer that Roberson was a security guard.
“Before he had an opportunity to react, this officer escalated the situation to a deadly force situation,” he added.