CPD officer who shot man at Red Line station in 2020 found not guilty


A Chicago police officer who was criminally charged in connection with an on-duty shooting at a busy CTA platform during rush hour in 2020 was acquitted by a judge Tuesday, drawing cheers in a packed courtroom.

Melvina Bogard, 33, was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct in the Feb. 28, 2020 shooting of Ariel Roman at the Grand Avenue Red Line station, which was captured by cell phone video and went viral, spurring quick condemnation from the community and city officials.

Bogard, who has been an officer with CPD since November 2017, opted to stand trial before a judge, rather than a jury, appearing before Cook County Judge Joseph Claps beginning in September.

As he made his finding, Claps said Roman had “zero credibility” and posed a danger to the officers at the scene when he grabbed at a Taser.

Prosecutors have said Bogard and her partner, Bernard Butler, were patrolling the Red Line that afternoon and noticed Roman passing between train car doors while the train was moving. When the train stopped at Grand, the officers asked Roman for identification, prosecutors said, at which point Roman turned away and opened his backpack.

Butler then grabbed at Roman’s sleeve, prosecutors have said, setting off a lengthy struggle during which both officers tased Roman to no apparent effect. As they struggled, prosecutors said, Roman at one point got hold of Butler’s Taser and handcuffs and Bogard used pepper spray, also incapacitating Butler.

As Roman got to his feet, prosecutors alleged, Bogard told him she would shoot him, while Butler told her to go ahead. Bogard drew her weapon and told Roman to show his hands, and Butler stepped away from Roman. Roman stepped forward and wiped his eyes, at which point Bogard fired, shooting him in the “chest/abdomen” area, prosecutors alleged.

Roman then ran up the escalator with Bogard and Butler in pursuit, when the gun discharged a second time, prosecutors said, hitting him in the hip. Roman survived the shooting.

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Police did not find a weapon on Roman.

Bogard’s defense attorney has argued that the shooting that injured Roman was in self defense, saying at her 2021 bond hearing that Bogard was outmatched by Roman during the struggle.

Videos of the shooting that went viral on Twitter showed the prolonged struggle as the two officers tried to take Roman into custody. At one point, according to one of the videos, the male officer later identified as Butler yelled “shoot him” while Roman writhed on the ground fighting attempts by the officers to subdue him.

Roman can be heard in one of the videos saying: “Please, let me go,” telling the officers, “I didn’t do nothing to you. I didn’t do nothing to you.”

In a tweet shortly after the videos went viral, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the videos “extremely disturbing.” A police spokesman also said the department had “serious tactical concerns” about the officers’ actions, as seen in the videos.

Roman filed a federal lawsuit after the shooting alleging that he was having an anxiety attack when he was “harassed, chased, tackled, pepper-sprayed, tasered and shot twice” by the officers.

Bogard and Butler both have cases before the police board in which Supt. David Brown has recommended dismissal.



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