Chicago, Illinois – The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) reported that it has concluded its investigation in the case of Ariel Roman.
COPA stated that it has already submitted its conclusions and recommendations to the Chicago Police Superintendent, David Brown.
As we reported at the time, Ariel Román was shot twice while two officers tried to arrest him for walking between the wagons before getting off the train at the Grand station on the red line, on February 28.
If COPA believes that one or both officers should be disciplined, Brown would have 30 days to decide whether to bring administrative charges against them.
It should be clarified that COPA did not say what its findings and recommendations were, although it is likely that the agency requested severe punishments for the two officers. Just days after the shooting occurred, COPA suggested that the Police Department strip both officers of their police powers, a move carried out by then-Acting Chief Charlie Beck.
Shortly after 4 p.m. on February 28, Officers Melvina Bogard and Bernard Butler, who had been with CPD for less than three years and were assigned to the Public Transit Unit, attempted to arrest Ariel Román after they saw him walking. between carriages on a northbound red line train.
Roman got off the train at Grand Station and the two officers followed him. Bogard and Butler tried to arrest him at the foot of the stairs leading to the station’s main entrance, but Roman struggled with Butler and was finally able to get up. Video footage showed two stun guns lying on the station floor.
When Roman regained his balance, Butler repeatedly told Bogard to shoot. She fired a round at Roman while he was just a few feet from her at the base of the stairs. After the first shot, Roman ran up the escalator and Bogard fired again.
In another video clip, captured by a CTA security camera, dozens of passengers can be seen running towards the station exits at the sound of gunfire. Before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Grand Station was one of the busiest in the CTA rail system, and the shooting occurred shortly before the start of rush hour on Friday night.
Roman was shot in the hip and another in the buttocks, according to his lawyers. He was taken into custody after the shooting and briefly faced charges of resisting arrest and possession of narcotics.
At Beck’s urging, the Cook County prosecutor’s office dropped those charges and opened a review of the shooting with the FBI. It is unclear whether any of the officers will face criminal charges, and a spokeswoman for the state attorney’s office said earlier today that “the matter is still under review.”
A passerby captured much of the shooting on cell phone video. The images were posted on Twitter and spread quickly on social media before CPD released its first statement on the shooting. In April, COPA released more video clips of the shooting.
Hours after the shooting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a tweet that “with the strong warning that one perspective does not represent the entire incident, the video is extremely disturbing and the actions of these officers are deeply concerning.”
The shooting came amid several high-profile criminal incidents at the CTA. A few hours before Bogard opened fire, Lightfoot and Beck joined CTA President Dorval Carter in announcing a new safety plan for the public transportation system.
Since then, Román has filed a lawsuit against the officers and the city, which is pending. One of his attorneys, Andrew M. Stroth, said the shooting left Roman permanently injured.
“Mr. Roman was unarmed and did not pose a threat and he was nearly killed,” Stroth said.