Illinois State Police still won’t release videos from deadly police shooting in Romeoville

Romeoville Bank Robbery.  May 10.

After two years, Illinois State Police still has not publicly disclosed videos and reports regarding a Will County sheriff’s lieutenant’s deadly shooting of a hostage taker at a Romeoville bank.

The investigation into the shooting of Gregory Walker, 65, of Crest Hill remains ongoing since it occurred May 10, 2022, at Fifth Third Bank, 275 S. Weber Road, Romeoville.

Walker’s sister, Brenda Nash-Milton, alleged in a federal lawsuit that Will County Sheriff’s Lt. John Allen wrongfully shot her brother in the chest after he released the hostages he took at the bank and left the building unarmed with his hands in the air.

Allen has been seeking to settle the civil lawsuit case before answering the allegations in Nash-Milton’s lawsuit. The case is set for a June 14 hearing to allow the parties to “obtain more discovery” before participating in a settlement conference, court records show.

Illinois State Police, the agency investigating the incident, denied a Freedom of Information Act request from the Herald-News for videos and reports of the incident because they are “awaiting a charging decision” from Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s Office.

After the Herald-News appealed to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s Office, state police officials said in a May 10 letter to Raoul’s office that their agency “recently had to conduct follow up investigations” at the direction of Glasgow’s office.

“Further, lab test results are still pending before the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office can make a final determination on the filing of charges,” state police officials said.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow attends a rally for ZONTA Says No To Violence Against Women outside the old court house on Tuesday in Joliet.

State police officials said they also received subpoenas they indicated were part of the federal lawsuit case and their agency produced records under a confidentiality order with an “attorneys’ eyes only” designation.

As a result, state police officials said they will not publicly release information “surrounding this incident” until Glasgow’s office has “completed with their review for possible criminal charges.”

It’s not been unusual for police departments in Will County and elsewhere to release body camera videos and reports before prosecutors finish their review. The most recent example happened last year with the fatal shooting of Jamal Smith, 31, by Joliet police officers.

In Chicago, the city has adopted a policy of releasing police shooting videos within 60 days.

When contacted about the Walker case, Matt Topic, partner with the law firm Loevy and Loevy, said law enforcement agencies have a long history of keeping records about potential misconduct closed for months or “even years whenever some investigation is still open.” Topic sued for the release of the video of the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, 17, in Chicago.

“But the law requires them to prove that it would actually interfere with their investigation and they are often unable to do so. Indeed, when put to the test in court, the Chicago Police Department was forced to release video exposing the murder of Laquan McDonald,” Topic said.

In a statement, Glasgow’s spokeswoman, Carole Cheney, said the “complexity” of the Walker case is “unlike any other officer-involved shooting incident this office has experienced.”

Cheney said an “extraordinarily large number” of law enforcement personnel responded to the incident involving “hostages being held by gunpoint inside the bank.”

Cheney said body camera videos, medical records, witness interviews and forensic testing results continue to be “examined and re-examined” based upon the “fluid fact finding that continues” as of Monday.

She said their office has also consulted with “numerous subject matter experts” from a “variety of disciplines to help provide context” to the evidence gathered in the investigation.

“Although given the unique nature of this matter we are unable to pinpoint a date upon which it will be concluded, this office continues as it has throughout to bring this matter to resolution,” Cheney said.