Law enforcement departments in Illinois that are investigating the white cop who shot and killed Black security guard Jemel Roberson outside a suburban Chicago night club in November are doing everything they can to conceal the officer’s identity.
In one of the latest efforts, the Illinois State Police (ISP) declined in court documents filed on Friday (Jan. 4) to name the cop and passed the responsibility on to the Midlothian Police Department where the officer worked, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Given the possibility of threats to the Officer, (Midlothian) is in the best position to determine whether those threats justify withholding Office (sic) John Doe’s identity,” the motion states.
NewsOne contacted the police department for comments but did not receive an immediate response.
The state police statement came in response to the ongoing legal effort from the attorney who is representing Roberson’s family, Gregory Kulis, to ask the court to order police officials to release information about their investigation.
In the document filed on Friday, the state police told the court that it has “investigative privilege” that allows the ISP to withhold not just the officer’s name but also video evidence and witness statements from the Roberson family attorney.
“The purpose of the law enforcement investigative privilege and reason for asserting it here is to ensure that the ongoing criminal investigations are thorough, complete, and accurate so that the truth is ascertained,” the state police motion reads.
Roberson was working security on Nov. 11 at a nightclub in Robbins, Illinois, when a gunman opened fire inside the nightclub. He apprehended the gunman outside the bar when the officer, responding to a report about gunfire, shot and killed Roberson, who was armed and licensed to carry a gun.
Shortly after the shooting, the ISP released a report that contradicted what several witnesses said. Investigators claimed that the 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, one of the family’s attorneys Lee Merritt said after the report was released, adding that Roberson wore a black cap, vest and jacket with the word “security” written in white letters.
Meanwhile, Midlothian police officials steadfastly declined requests to identify the officer in the aftermath of the shooting, claiming that he was targeted with death threats.
Just the opposite has happened in the case of EJ Bradford, who was killed by a cop on Thanksgiving night in an Alabama shopping mall.
Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, who vowed transparency, ruled out the release of video and identifying the officers involved in the shooting. Shortly after the incident, Hoover turned the investigation over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which will determine when — or if — the public will see video evidence from the shooting, as well as the officer’s identity.
Ironically, the Illinois court is weighing the ISP’s arguments and Midlothian police are stalling on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.