Chicago officer charged after shooting unarmed man in subway

Midwest

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The Chicago police officer who shot an unarmed man at a busy subway station last year now faces aggravated battery and official misconduct charges in connection with the shooting.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said in a news release that Melvina Bogard, 32, turned herself in to investigators on Thursday morning and at an afternoon bond hearing, Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz ordered that she be released on her written promise to appear in court. Her next court hearing was scheduled for Aug. 18.

Bogard

The shooting happened in February 2020 at a downtown station. Bogard and her partner, Bernard Butler, were pursuing Ariel Roman, a short-order cook who was suspected of violating a city ordinance by walking from one train car to another.

Roman’s attorneys said he was diagnosed with anxiety in 2019, and he moved about the train in an effort to calm his nerves. Roman, now 35, was also carrying a backpack that contained an illegal amount of marijuana, police said at the time.

Just hours earlier, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Charlie Beck, then the CPD’s interim superintendent, announced that an additional 50 officers would be assigned to the Chicago Transit Authority’s train lines to combat rising criminal activity on public transit.

Bogard and Butler were relatively new to the CPD, with each officer on the force for less than three years. When Roman exited the train at the Grand station in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, the two cops followed and confronted him near the foot of the escalator on the station platform. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand station was among the busiest of the CTA’s train lines.

FILE – In this Feb. 28, 2020, image from Chicago Transit Authority video provided by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, police officers attend to Ariel Roman, bottom right, after he was shot by Chicago police in a subway station in Chicago.  (Chicago Transit Authority via AP File)

Bogard and Butler — who were already assigned to the CPD’s Mass Transit Unit — tried to place Roman under arrest, but he resisted. As the officers struggled to place him into custody, a passerby recorded the interaction on his cellphone.

The video shows Butler and Roman wrestling on the ground as two already-deployed stun guns lay on the floor. Roman — who ignored repeated orders from both cops to stop resisting — eventually regained his footing. Butler then told Bogard to shoot. After Roman took a few steps forward, Bogard fired a shot into his abdomen.

Roman then ran up the escalator toward the station’s main concourse area, and Bogard fired another shot at him, hitting him in the back.

The witness immediately posted the video to social media, and the footage spread like wildfire before the CPD was able to issue its first statement on the shooting.

Roman survived the shooting and filed a federal lawsuit that alleged Bogard and Butler “chased, tackled, pepper-sprayed, Tasered and shot twice.”

Roman was hit with resisting arrest and narcotics charges, though the state’s attorney’s office — at the CPD’s behest — opted to not prosecute him.

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

CPD Supt. David Brown recommended in April that Bogard and Butler be fired from the CPD for their roles in the shooting.

Bogard is the second CPD officer to be criminally charged in a shooting this year.

According to the state’s attorney’s office, the aggravated battery charge carries a sentence of six to 30 years in prison and the official misconduct charge carries a sentence ranging from probation to five years in prison.

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