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'Hurts Like Crazy': Jemel Roberson's Mother on the Death of Her Son

Beatrice Roberson, the mother of Jemel Roberson, a security guard who was shot and killed by Midloathian police after detaining a shooter at a bar, said her son “died doing what he loved,” and that the loss “hurts like crazy.”

“He was a good person, he had a good heart,” she said during his funeral at House of Hope.


Regarding the unnamed officer who fatally shot her son, she said “I don’t hate him, I pray for him.”

Avontae Boose, Roberson’s girlfriend, the mother of his 9-month-old son who’s pregnant with their second child, said, “My heart’s broken right now because my kids will not see their father for any holidays anymore.”

Lee Merritt, the Roberson family attorney, said the 26-year-old father would tell his girlfriend, “‘I’m going to become a police officer. I am going to be able to provide for you and this family.'”

Boose said she would tell her children that their father was a hero.

“I’m going to tell them when they get older — when they get real older — what happened to their father,” she said. “That he was a hero, and he saved a lot of people.”

The choir wore black t-shirts with white lettering that said “SECURITY, #Justice For Jemel.”

Shaun King posted a video of Roberson’s casket being lowered into the ground while Tristan, Roberson’s baby boy, was cradled next to it.

Joseph McNeal, who described himself as a police officer and a mentor to Roberson, blamed himself for not being there. “The truth of the matter is it wasn’t about me being there, it was about a cop who needed to believe in justice to be there — to have the power to take life or to restrain it — to believe in equality, and to know that even though a Black man with a gun can be a criminal, another black man with a gun can be a hero,” McNeal said. “And that’s what my brother was.”


Jemel Roberson laid to rest

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While a federal judge denied the family’s request to identify the Midloathian officer involved in the shooting, their attorney has issued a subpoena to the state police requesting that by Friday they turn over all preliminary reports regarding the department’s findings about the shooting.

Cook County Sheriff’s Police are also seeking additional witnesses to the shooting. They sent out three photos of individuals of interest who they said were at Manny’s at or around the time of the shooting.

Anyone with information about them is asked to contact investigators at 708-865-4896.

Preliminary reports from the Illinois State Police Task Force say Roberson wasn’t wearing any identifying security clothing and that he ignored verbal commands from the officer. The findings contradict what several witnesses have already said was true.

“They’re offering the same lip service while not offering the transparency and justice this community needs,” said Merritt.

Roberson’s mother said in her remarks that her son’s work was done and that he was gone, touting God’s purpose for him in his short time on Earth. “Justice will be served, but in God’s time,” she said.

Reader Question: Do you think society can ever look at Black men as heroes and not criminals

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