COPA releases 18 videos of CPD shooting on Red Line

Several newly released videos show Officer Melvina Bogard shooting Ariel Roman, who, police say, was walking from train car to train car while carrying cocaine and an illegal amount of marijuana.

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The agency that investigates uses of force by Chicago police released a trove of videos Tuesday that show an officer shooting an unarmed man who tried to escape arrest at a busy River North CTA station in February.

In all, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released 18 videos Tuesday. Several of those show Officer Melvina Bogard shooting Ariel Roman, who, police say, was walking from train car to train car while carrying cocaine and an illegal amount of marijuana.

“Ariel Roman is lucky to be alive today,” said Andrew M. Stroth, one of three attorneys representing Roman in the lawsuit he filed against the city and two officers last month. “Ariel Roman did not present a threat. Ariel Roman was unarmed.”

Shortly after 4 p.m. Feb. 28, Roman, 33, was passing between cars on a northbound Red Line train that was traveling through the downtown area.

Two Chicago Police Department Mass Transit officers — Bogard and her partner, Bernard Butler — followed Roman off the train at the Grand station.

Once the three were off the train, Bogard and Butler, who’ve both been with the police department for only a few years, tried to take Roman into custody at the foot of the stairs that lead up to the station’s main concourse.

A struggle ensued, and Roman was eventually able to free himself despite being pepper sprayed. Video footage shows two discharged stun guns laying on the floor, as well.

As Roman regains his footing, Butler can be heard repeatedly telling Bogard to shoot. She fired one round at Roman while he stood just a few feet away from her at the base of the stairs. After the first shot, Roman runs up the escalator, and Bogard fires again.

In one clip — taken from a CTA security camera — dozens of transit riders can be seen running for the station’s exits at the sound of gunfire. The Grand station is one of the busiest in the CTA’s rail system, and the shooting occurred shortly before the start of evening rush hour.

Roman was shot once in the hip and again in the buttocks. One of the bullets remains lodged in Roman’s body. He’s undergone two surgeries and will likely need more, Stroth said.

The shooting happened just hours after Lightfoot and former interim CPD Supt. Charlie Beck had jointly launched a crackdown on CTA crime that called for adding 50 officers to the mass transit unit, assigning four detectives exclusively to solving CTA crimes and building a strategic deployment center specifically for mass transit.

Resisting arrest and narcotics charges were filed against Roman, but Beck asked the state’s attorney’s office to drop them.

“Given the totality of circumstances and the department’s significant level of concern around this incident, it would be insensitive to advocate for these charges,” a police department spokesman said at the time.

Beck later moved to strip both Butler and Bogard of their police powers as COPA investigates. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the FBI are also investigating.

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