The white Midlothian, Illinois, officer who fatally shot a Black security guard who was holding down a gunman outside of a suburban Chicago bar in 2018 will not face criminal charges, the Cook County State’s Attorney said .
Ian Covey, who fatally shot 26-year-old Jemel Roberson outside of a suburban Chicago bar in Robbins, Illinois, called Manny’s Blue Room, will not face criminal charges, as the Attorney’s Office has “concluded that the totality of evidence is insufficient to support criminal charges.”
“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,” Foxx said in the statement.
On Nov. 11, 2018, Roberson was working at the bar when an altercation broke out at around 4 a.m. At that time Roberson and other security guards began removing customers from the bar. The altercation escalated, and multiple individuals fired several shots both inside and outside the building. Robbins police officers who were on the scene called for backup from nearby departments.
Ian Covey, with the Midlothian Police Department, was one officer among responders from 10 police agencies that arrived on the scene to help. He encountered Roberson, described in the memorandum as “wearing all black clothing with no identifying markings,” who was pinning a man to the ground outside of the bar.
Witnesses and Roberson’s family said he was wearing a shirt and that read “security,” and people on the scene told Covey that Roberson was a security guard.
Roberson was holding a gun and did not respond to Covey’s commands to drop the weapon, according to the memorandum. Covey fired four shots, striking Roberson four times in the back and side because he thought the security guard was the shooter. Roberson was pronounced dead at 5 a.m.
After the shooting, a body camera captured another security guard speaking to a police officer: “[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 guard also said Covey shot Roberson after finding out he was a security guard. He said 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.”
There is no footage of the shooting. Covey was placed on administrative leave after the shooting.
“The evidence at any trial would include evidence indicating that when Mr. Roberson did not acknowledge or follow Officer Covey’s verbal commands to get down and drop the gun, it was not unreasonable for Officer Covey to believe that Mr. Roberson was the active shooter on the scene,” the memorandum reads.
“The evidence established that Officer Covey’s use of force was objectively reasonable.”
The Illinois State’s Attorney appellate prosecutor has agreed that no criminal charges should be filed against Covey.
“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 wrote. “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’s family was informed of the decsion on Thursday.
“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,” said Roberson’s, mother Beatrice Roberson, at a news conference on Friday afternoon. She plans to keep fighting to see that Covey is charged in her son’s death.
Roberson, who has been called a “hero” for apprehending the gunman, had an infant son at the time of his death.