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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Name of Officer Who Killed Innocent Black Security Guard Will Not Be Released

Jemel Roberson, Black security guard killed by police

Jemel Roberson, Black security guard killed by police

Midlothian, IL — A U.S. District judge has denied the motion requesting to release the name of the Midlothian police officer who shot and killed security guard Jemel Roberson. The attorney for the state police claims the motion to identify the shooter was rather unlawful and the judge agreed with him.

Gregory Kulis, an attorney representing Roberson’s family, filed a motion arguing that if the Illinois State Police issued a press statement with preliminary information about its investigation just two days after the shooting, it is just fitting that they should also disclose the officer’s name as well as the names of the witnesses interviewed.

Kulis simultaneously filed a subpoena requesting the state police to turn over all the police reports, witness statements and investigative documents regarding the shooting, any footage from the incident, and the name of the officer who shot Roberson by November 30.

“The public should have the right to know who this officer is,” Kulis said in court on Tuesday. “I should have the right to know who this officer is.”

Michael Stephenson, an attorney for the state police, called Kulis’ motion an “an attempt to side-step the basic rules of motion practice.” He also complained about the short time to review the subpoena and asked the judge to have until December 17 to respond to the subpoena, approximately 30 days from the date it was issued.

Judge Joan Lefkow sided with Stephenson, thus, saying no to the motion. She said, “This Motion is in complete disregard of (subpoena rules). This is not enough time for the State Police to review the subpoena and respond as appropriate.”

“Let’s just follow the rules here,” Lefkow added.

Lefkow also claimed the media spun the state police’s “preliminary findings” that contradicts witness statements that Roberson was wearing a clothing easily identifiable as a security guard and that the officer started firing at Roberson before giving him enough time to respond to his verbal commands. However, Lefkow admitted she had not reviewed the news release that the state police issued.

The report released from the police department was also “kind of bizarre” according to Kulis as it allegedly only mentioned the bar shooter and the four gunshot victims and did not indicate anything about Roberson and his death.

After the incident, the Midlothian Police Department had only issued a statement offering condolences to Roberson’s family, calling the shooting “the equivalent of a ‘blue on blue,’ friendly fire incident.” The department is also quiet about the officer’s identity and actions, but said he was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations.

Moreover, Kulis told the judge he thinks he knows the name of the officer but said he would not release it without the confirmation from the department or the state police.

“Why can’t they just give me the name of the individual?” Kulis said.