After 2 Years, No Charges Will Be Filed Against Chicago Cop Who Fatally Shot Black Security Guard

Illustration for article titled After 2 Years, No Charges Will Be Filed Against Chicago Cop Who Fatally Shot Black Security Guard
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

In 2018, Jemel Roberson, a Black security guard, was restraining an active shooter when he was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer.


Two years later, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has announced no charges will be filed against the officer, CNN reports. “After an extensive and thorough review of the police-involved shooting resulting in the 2018 death of Jemel Roberson, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) has concluded that the totality of the evidence is insufficient to support criminal charges against Midlothian Police Officer Ian Covey,” a news release from the attorney’s office states.

Foxx acknowledged that this decision comes during a year of unrest surrounding police killings of unarmed Black people and follows the controversial decision to not charge any of the officers involved with the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

“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,” Foxx said in a statement. “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.”

Roberson was a security guard at Manny’s Blue Room, a bar in Chicago. In November 2018, a gunman entered the bar and began to open fire. Roberson bravely subdued the shooter and pinned him to the ground. Covey arrived shortly after and opened fire on Roberson, killing him.


The shooter survived.

“Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!’ He was a security guard,” Adam Harris, a witness, told WGN9 in 2018. “And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him.”


The CCASO said their investigation interviewed over 100 witnesses and took into account physical evidence as well as other information surrounding the shooting. The Office of the Illinois State’s Attorney Appellate Prosecutor conducted a secondary review of the investigation and also found that no charges should be filed.

Roberson had dreams of becoming a police officer himself and had an infant son at the time of his death. His mother, Beatrice Roberson, has continually advocated for her son to receive justice.


“Jemel was my baby,” she told the Chicago Tribune during a protest this summer. “He was a good guy. From the time he was a child, he was a protector and it’s a shame his life was taken.”

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Just One More Thing Not to Do While Black: be a goddamn hero.