Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office announced Friday it would not bring charges in the fatal shooting of a Black security guard by a white police officer outside a Robbins bar in 2018.
Jemel Roberson, 26, was armed and working security at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge and had just subdued a suspected gunman after a barroom shooting when he was shot to death by Midlothian police officer Ian Covey. Midlothian police responded to the barroom shooting, which injured four people, to assist Robbins police.
Foxx’s office “concluded that the totality of the evidence is insufficient to support criminal charges against Midlothian Police Officer Ian Covey,” according to a statement released by her office Friday morning.
“While this conclusion may not be the result that many have hoped for, I can assure you that this investigation was conducted with the highest level of scrutiny by prosecutors in my office’s Law Enforcement Accountability Division and the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force,” Foxx said in the statement.
“I am acutely aware in this age of civil unrest that police-involved shootings are viewed under a microscope, as they very well should be. The death of Jemel Roberson is tragically heartbreaking, and while it might feel to some people like justice was not served here, I have both an ethical and legal obligation to make charging decisions based on the law and the evidence.”
Police bodycam footage shows a fellow security guard telling a police officer after the shooting: “[Covey] comes up, inside the f—— club, with his rifle pointed at every f—— body. [Roberson] had his gun still out, holding the offender on the ground . . . [Covey told] him to drop his gun.”
The security guard who witnessed the shooting said on the bodycam video that he told Covey to “cool out, he’s working with us” but that Covey “shot him four or five times after we told [Covey that Roberson] is with us.”
Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney has called Roberson’s death a tragic instance of “blue-on-blue friendly fire.”
On Friday afternoon, Roberson’s mother, Beatrice Roberson, held a news conference on outside a West Side church to express her disappointment in Foxx’s decision.
“I’m angry and I’m very, very hurt, and I don’t have no trust in the justice system, I really don’t, not at this point,” she said.
“I wake up every Sunday morning, 3:30 or 4 o’clock in the morning, because that’s the time I got the news that my son had been shot,” she said, adding that she plans to continue her fight to see Covey charged in her son’s death and seek legislation to make police more accountable in such incidents.
“My son wasn’t the kind of person that goes around and depends on somebody to take care of him, he worked, he struggled, but he worked, and he did not deserve that,” she said.
Roberson, who lived in Homan Square, aspired to be a police officer and had an affinity for playing the organ at a number of churches across the city.
He had an infant son at the time of his death.
The Lane Tech grad has since been called a “hero” for subduing a gunman that night.
Messages left Friday with Midlothian Village President Gary L’Heureux and Police Chief Delaney seeking information on Covey were not returned.
Covey was placed on administrative leave from the department after the shooting.