It does not appear as if Ariel Roman was aware he was committing a crime by moving from one subway car to another while the train was moving resulting in him getting shot in the back by a trigger-happy Chicago police officer two months ago in an incident caught on video.
But sure enough, a city ordinance prohibits that type of behavior.
Perhaps it was just never enforced but on that particular day, February 28, the city of Chicago had added 50 new police officers to patrol the subway system to crackdown on fare evaders and other rule breakers. So these cops were on a mission.
Surveillance video from inside the subway car released this week shows the 33-year-old man walking into the crowded car where he encounters two cops who appear to tell him he was violating a city ordinance. The video contains no audio but it shows Roman making eye contact with the cops, appearing to understand what they had said but not giving it much thought because he continues walking to the front of the car, putting on his headphones.
The cops did not appear to like that, especially Melvina Bogard, the female cop, who already had a history of violence before she became a cop. The video shows Bogard walking after him to kick him off the train while the male cop, Bernard Butler, steps off the train to await Roman. Additional video from inside the station shows the cops standing with Roman on the platform and having a conversation for about a minute.
At one point, Roman removes his backpack as if to retrieve something from inside and the cops begin grabbing on to him, escalating what had been a non-violent encounter. The cops shove him into a stairwell where they prove incapable of handcuffing him, despite tasering him several times as well as pepper spraying him.
“I did not do anything to you guys,” Roman keeps repeating.
“Shoot him!” Butler yells to Bogard who then pepper sprays him.
After struggling with him for several minutes, Roman manages to stand up, but is rubbing his eyes because of the pepper spray.
“Shoot him!” Butler repeats.
This time, Bogard shoots him in the abdomen, prompting Roman to take off running up the escalator, obviously fearing for his life. But before he could get to the top of the escalator, Bogard shoots him in the buttocks where he then falls down.
In their arrest report, the cops claim Roman is a known gang member who was carrying drugs and a scale in his backpack but all charges, including the drug charges, were quickly dismissed after the initial video went viral so for all we know, the cops just made that part up.
The video shows the backpack appearing to be open when he is standing inside the car. The video also shows the backpack fell off during the struggle and remained downstairs after they had shot him on the upper floor.
And if it is true Roman is a gang member, there is no evidence that he has ever been arrested in Cook County. Bogard, on the other hand, has a mugshot from her 2015 arrested posted on the internet. No such photo comes up for Roman despite using the same Google search words used to find her mugshot.
According to CWB Chicago:
A 19-year-old McDonald’s worker told police that Bogard got out of her car in the drive-thru lane, began pounding on the drive-thru window with her fist, and “shouted threats of bodily harm” toward the employee.
Prosecutors charged Bogard with misdemeanor assault. The charge was dropped on Jan. 15, 2016, when the victim failed to appear at the initial court date, according to court records.
Bogard, who was 27 at the time, is listed as a “student” on the CPD arrest report that documents the case.
Chicago police last week said Bogard and her partner on the night of the shooting, Bernard Butler, have been on the force since late 2017. Prior arrests and even criminal convictions are not automatic disqualifiers for candidates interested in becoming Chicago police officers, according to the city.
Five police bodycam videos were also released along with several surveillance videos from inside the train and station Tuesday but only from the cops who responded to the shooting. They did not include bodycam footage from the cops involved in the shooting which should be able to tell us exactly what words were exchanged before they decided to kick him off the train.
Both cops have been stripped of their police powers while they remain under investigation.
Roman survived the shooting and has filed a lawsuit which you can read here. All the videos and documents that have been released are posted here. The above video puts several clips into sequence to show what led to the shooting.