After pleading guilty to discharging a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, causing the death of another person, former East Chicago Councilman Robert Battle was recently sentenced to 20 years in federal prison followed by 2 years of supervised release. While serving as a Council member, Battle participated in dealing cocaine and marijuana before fatally shooting his supplier in the back.
In April 2015, law enforcement agents began investigating Battle in relation to drug trafficking activities and later received information that Reimundo Camarillo was supplying the sitting East Chicago Councilman with large quantities of drugs. On September 23, 2015, agents conducted a traffic stop as Battle was returning from a drug delivery to Michigan.
Found with marijuana and $100,700 in cash, Battle was arrested and agreed to cooperate with investigators by attempting to make a controlled delivery to Camarillo. Scheduled to meet with Camarillo and a member of the Two Sixers street gang after his arrest, Battle arrived to give Camarillo his money, but the drug supplier did not appear.
On October 12, 2015, Battle claims that Camarillo arrived at his residence and woke him up by knocking on his door. After an argument ensued on the back porch, Battle shot Camarillo in the back, killing him.
In June, Battle pleaded guilty to fatally shooting Camarillo in relation to a drug trafficking crime. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Philip Simon sentenced the former councilman to 20 years in federal prison followed by 2 years of supervised release.
“Robert Battle, you’re a coward. You shot my husband in the back,” Camarillo’s widow, Maria Camarillo, said during the sentencing.
“I want you to look at my family and see all the pain,” Tina Camarillo, the victim’s sister, said to Battle.
“Mr. Battle was involved in pouring cocaine onto the streets of East Chicago where he was an elected official,” stated Assistant U.S. Attorney David Nozick. “He was poisoning the very community he was elected to serve.”
In a statement on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch II announced, “Mr. Battle was a drug dealer, while at the same time serving as a public official. He was elected to uphold the law and instead conspired to break it. Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of his offense and should be a warning to others who want to engage in these type of violent crimes.”
Apologizing to Camarillo’s family, Battle confessed, “I know it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
He added, “I believe it’s not fair for anyone to lose their life over this senseless act that could’ve easily been resolved.”