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

A Chicago police officer charged in a 2020 shooting on a busy CTA platform during rush hour was acquitted by a judge on Tuesday, drawing cheers from a packed courtroom.

Melvina Bogard, 33, was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct in the February 28, 2020, shooting of Ariel Roman. Grand Avenue Red Line Stationwhich was captured on a cell phone and went viral, prompting condemnation from the community and city officials.

Bogard, who had been a CPD officer since November 2017, chose to stand trial rather than a jury when he appeared before Cook County Judge Joseph Claps in September.

In concluding, Claps said Roman had “zero credibility” and was a danger to officers at the scene when he grabbed the Taser.

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

Butler then grabbed Roman by the sleeve, prosecutors said, setting off a lengthy altercation in which both officers beat Roman to no apparent effect. As they struggled, Roman at one point pulled a Taser and handcuffs on Butler, while Bogard used pepper spray, also incapacitating Butler, prosecutors said.

When Roman got to his feet, prosecutors alleged, Bogard told him she was going to shoot him, and Butler told her to go ahead. Bogarde drew her weapon and told Roman to show her hands, and Butler moved away from Roman. Prosecutors say Roman stepped forward and wiped his eyes, after which Bogard shot him in the “chest/abdomen” area.

Roman then ran down the escalator with Bogarde and Butler in pursuit when the gun fired a second time, prosecutors said, hitting him in the thigh. Roman survived the shooting.

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The police did not find a weapon in Roman’s possession.

Bogard’s defense attorney argued that the shooting that injured Roman was self-defense, saying at a 2021 bond hearing that Roman overpowered Bogard during the struggle.

Video of the shooting, which went viral on Twitter, showed a prolonged struggle as 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” as Roman writhed on the ground fighting the officers’ attempts to restrain him.

In one of the videos, Raman can be heard saying, “Please let me go,” telling the officers, “I didn’t do anything to you. I didn’t do anything to you.”

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

After the shooting, Roman sued in federal court, alleging that he suffered an anxiety attack when officers “chased, chased, fought, pepper-sprayed, tasered and shot twice.”

Bogard and Butler both have police cases in which Supt. David Brown recommended dismissal.

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