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Video: Witnesses say they warned cop that Jemel Roberson was security, not a threat

Videos released by authorities Wednesday show the aftermath of the fatal shooting of security guard Jemel Roberson by a Midlothian police officer. | Cook County sheriff's office

Soon after the fatal shooting of a black security guard by a white police officer last year in Robbins, other security guards at the bar were shown saying they had repeatedly warned the officer that 26-year-old Jemel Roberson was a security guard, according to video footage released Wednesday.

More than a dozen videos were made public by the Cook County sheriff’s office from a variety of cell phone cameras and police body cameras. They show security staff at Manny’s Blue Room and other witnesses calling the police “racists” and show the chaotic scene that followed the shooting.

None of the videos show the actual shooting of Roberson. The new footage shows Roberson during the aftermath, laying on his back at 4 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2018, outside the bar at  2911 S. Claire Blvd.

Another security guard points to a Midlothian officer, identified in a federal lawsuit as Ian Covey, and tells other responding officers “he shot him.”

The same security guard later describes to an officer what happened, saying, “[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.”

Tristan Roberson and the boy's father Jemel Roberson.

Jemel Roberson and his son Tristan Roberson. | Avontea Boose via AP

Shortly after, a police officer pulls the security guard aside and tells him he needs to calm down so that they can figure out what happened.

“We just showed up, I don’t need nobody else getting hurt,” the officer tells him. “If this was bogus, we want [Covey] to be held accountable.”

In dashcam video released by Illinois State Police on Tuesday, Covey can be seen walking in front of a police cruiser with an assault-style rifle as he heads towards the bar. Four gunshots are heard after he steps out of the dashcam’s frame.

Among the clips released Wednesday was cellphone video taken inside the club that shows the initial shooting that resulted in four people being wounded and police showing up to the scene.

In the video, muzzle flashes can be seen coming from a side door into the club, and four gunshots are heard as patrons run for cover.

According to witness accounts, Roberson was subduing the shooter at the bar when he was shot by the officer and his actions have since been described as “heroic.”

Gregory E. Kulis, attorney for Beatrice Roberson, mother of Jemel Roberson, said Wednesday that the release of the video shows that, “People normally in these [situations] will speak the truth in what they just saw and what they just witnessed. I think it kind of confirms what we’ve already said that everybody said he was security.”

Beatrice Roberson on Saturday said she and her family will get justice for her slain son. | John Booz/For the Sun-Times

Beatrice Roberson in January said she and her family will get justice for her slain son. | John Booz/For the Sun-Times

Jemel Roberson, who lived in Homan Square, was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, authorities said. His death was ruled a homicide.

Covey was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, Midlothian police told the Sun-Times last year. A representative for the department was not available for comment Wednesday evening.

The bar shooting is under investigation by the sheriff’s office, while state police are investigating Covey’s use of force.