Rapper Kanye West donated $150,000 to the family of a Chicago-area security guard who subdued a gunman firing at and wounding bar patrons only to be shot to death by a white cop called to the scene to help.
West’s donation was posted on a Go Fund Me Page, first published online. He made 10 donations of $15,000 each. Since his donation, the amount of money raised for Jemel Roberson, the dead security guard, has grown to more $305,000.
The donation adds to West’s complicated legacy by some who question his sanity for hugging President Donald Trump, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap and saying slavery was a choice for African Americans.
On the other hand, in August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans neighborhoods and black people were standing on their rooftops holding up hand-written signs pleading for help while watching the bloated bodies of drowned friends and relatives floating in the rising water, West declared President George W. Bush didn’t care about black people.
Bush never visited New Orleans, the site of much of the destruction. He flew over it, but unlike President Lyndon Johnson, who went to the area after flooding decades earlier. With his face illuminated by a flashlight, Johnson crawled into a dark shelter where people were huddled, said, “ I’m your goddamn president and I’m going to get you out of this.”
Black people believed President Bush did nothing to help blacks stranded in New Orleans, but West said it.
West, a Chicago native, who now lives in California, donated the money to Roberson’s family.
Roberson, 26, was working security on November 11 at Manny’s Blue Room Bar in the mostly black suburb of Robbins, Illinois. Earlier, the bar’s employees demanded that some of the customers leave because they were too drunk.
One of the men who had been kicked out returned to the bar and began shooting, wounding several customers and the bartender. Roberson, who was wearing a baseball cap jacket with words “Security” printed on them, returned fire before wrestling the gunman to ground in the bar’s parking lot.
When police from Midlothian, Illinois, a nearby suburb, arrived, the cop, who has only been identified as white, shot and killed Roberson as onlookers screamed “security” to let the cop know Roberson had stopped the shooting.
The incident in Robbins occurred just 10 days after a gunman in a Thousand Oaks, California, bar murdered 12 people, including a police officer, before turning the gun on himself.
In California, Ron Helus, a sergeant with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, rushed into the bar to kill the gunman, not the security guard. The police officer is now being hailed as a hero.
The deadly shooting in Robbins raises real fears that police without question will shoot to kill a black man no matter what he is doing.
Illinois State Police are investigating the deadly shooting in Robbins, but they have not named the cop. The Illinois State Police’s account of what happened greatly differs from what the bar patrons claimed occurred.
Roberson’s family has sued the Midlothian Police Department for $1 million in federal court. Protestors have demanded that the Cook County, Illinois, State’s Attorney charge the cop with murder and that the cop resign.
Roberson was married and the father of one child with another on the way. He also was a church organist.
He graduated from Lane Technical College Prep High School, one of Chicago’s most prestigious high schools. He played basketball there and the team held a vigil Sunday to honor him. He grew up in Wicker Park, a Chicago neighborhood. His funeral services will be held November 24 at the House of Hope in Chicago.
Police murdering unarmed black men and, in this case, murdering a black man doing his job and saving lives, have generated increasing attention and outrage.
West’s donation to Roberson’s surviving family will generate even more attention and add to the belief that two people inhabit his body.