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Legal expert explains what to expect from Blackhawks robbery investigation

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 10:28 PM CST
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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (KWQC) - Jason Cieslik, a law professor at Illinois State University with experience as a prosecutor and in private practice, says that now that the investigation into Tuesday night’s armed robbery at Blackhawks Vape is underway, the local police and State’s Attorney has a lot of work ahead of them.

“What I can tell you is, obviously, this is brand new,” said Cieslik. “And so the police are going through interviews and talking to witnesses, because there’s a lot going on here.”

He understands why people have questions about the investigation.

“I’m sure a lot of people are wondering, you know, why is this even an issue? It’s the issue of self defense.” he said.

During the investigation, the State’s Attorney will have to determine if the individual who used deadly force reasonably believed that force was necessary. That’s easier said than done, as there’s no checklist or accepted standard of what makes deadly force a reasonable option.

″When I talk about this in my classes, you know, students always want to give what if, what if, what if. there’s a million What ifs, every situation is going to be different,” said Cieslik. “What is imminent death or imminent great bodily harm? Again, it depends on the situation. We weren’t there. We don’t know. And that’s what the investigators are trying to determine.”

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anywhere to start.

″Typically we used to say, you know, self defense in general, they teach in law school, fight fire with fire. You know, you don’t bring a gun to a knife fight kind of thing,” said Cieslik. “The force that is met has to be reasonable and necessary, with what’s going on at that particular time.”

While the Quad Cities is looking for answers on this high profile case, there’s now way to know for sure how long the state’s investigation will take.

“Again, I’m going to give you the typical lawyer answer that everybody hates,” said Cieslik. “And the answer is, it depends.”

Cieslik says in cases like these where there was a death, a coroner will have to examine the body and testify to the cause, which takes time. But, there are some factors that could help the investigation. If witness statements stay consistent throughout, and officials get clear video of what happened, they’ll be able to come to a conclusion faster.

But above anything else, the investigation will take time to be thorough.

″A prosecutor has an obligation to only charge cases where they believe in good faith they can prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Cieslik. “One way or the other and again, that’s a hefty burden.”

Rock Island Police have said that State’s Attorney Dora Villareal will release a statement after reviewing the incident.

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