US police shoot black security guard ‘hero’
Jemel Roberson, 26, shot multiple times while detaining a suspected gunman outside Chicago bar
Police in the US state of Illinois are in the spotlight after a black security guard who allegedly apprehended a gunman at a bar was shot dead by officers.
Jemel Roberson, 26, had helped other bouncers eject a group of drunk patrons from Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, a southern suburb of Chicago, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
One of the evicted men then returned to the bar brandishing a gun, The Independent reports. A confrontation ensued, and four people were shot and injured in the scramble.
Officers from the Midlothian police department were called to reports of gunfire shortly after 4am.
Eyewitness Adam Harris told CBS that Roberson had pinned the suspected shooter to the ground outside the bar when the police arrived.
“When it got calm, and we went out, we saw the security guard got killed last night. He had somebody on the ground, with his knee in his back, with his gun on him, like ‘Don’t move,’” he said. “He was protecting the club.”
Another bar patron, who asked not to be named, said the unidentified officer emerged from inside the bar and fired multiple shots at Roberson, a father of one.
“When he comes out of that door with that gun up, it’s just pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop,”, she said. “The officers started screaming, ‘He’s one of us. He’s security’.”
Roberson was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“An autopsy Monday found Roberson died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide,” reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The four people injured in the initial shooting, one of whom is believed to be the gunman, are expected to live.
The officer who fired the fatal shots has been placed on paid leave while the State Police Public Integrity Task Force conducts an investigation into Roberson’s death.
“The shooting has sparked an outcry in the south suburbs, where some view the incident as a case of racial bias,” ABC reports. Roberson’s cousin told the broadcaster that she believed “the police officer just saw a black man” and made a knee-jerk judgment. “I believe if he was indeed white, he'd be alive,” she said.
The victim’s family have filed a civil suit against the officer and the Midlothian police department alleging excessive force. Their attorneys claim that Roberson, who was licensed to carry a firearm, was wearing a cap emblazoned with the word ‘Security’ when he was gunned down, Fox News reports.
The shooting comes less than a week after the Thousand Oaks massacre, in which former US Marine Ian Long killed 12 people in a bar in suburban California before turning the gun on himself.