Police officer acquitted of shooting dead unarmed Chicago man
A Chicago police officer has been acquitted of two charges against her after she shot and killed an unarmed man at a downtown commuter train station nearly three years ago.
On February 28, 2020, Melvina Bogard, 33, and her partner, Bernard Butler, allegedly saw commuter Ariel Roman switching from car to car while the train they were riding in was moving, a violation of a city ordinance . As they both officers asked Roman to get off at the next stop, he cooperated. He admitted moving between the cars, but told officers he did so because he was suffering from anxiety and another passenger in one of the cars was harassing him.
At some point during his encounter with the officers, Roman allegedly turned his back and made a movement toward his bag, prompting Bogard to grab him. Bogard and Butler then struggled to hold Roman down for almost five minutes, according to cellphone video filmed by a witness:
(Warning: offensive language and disturbing content)
During their encounter with Roman, Bogard and Butler are said to have instructed Roman to at least stop resisting 30 times. They also reportedly tried to hold Roman down using mechanical holds, pepper spray and their tasers, all to no avail.
Roman eventually escaped her clutches and ran up the escalator, whereupon Bogard fired her service pistol, punching Roman in the abdomen. As he continued to flee, she fired again, hitting him in the back.
Although Roman survived the shooting, he underwent at least two surgeries and still suffers from complications related to his injuries. One of the bullets gets stuck near his buttocks because it is too close to the sciatic nerve for the doctors to remove.
Following the incident, Bogard, who was hired by the department in 2017, was charged with aggravated assault and misconduct. However, on Tuesday, Bogard was acquitted of the charges in a bench trial with Cook County Judge Joseph Claps.
Claps, in a 20-minute statement of the verdict, claimed the shooting was justified because Roman, while unarmed, posed a risk to the safety of the two officers when he grabbed one of their tasers. He also claimed that Roman had “zero credibility” as he repeatedly ignored and allegedly carried orders from officers drugs at the time of the incident.
Roman was initially charged with resisting arrest, but those charges were later dropped.
Bogard’s attorney, Tim Grace, said that while he was grateful his client was acquitted, he was frustrated that “we’ve come to a point in our society where citizens can believe they’re following the lawful orders of police officers.” not have to comply with law enforcement.”
Roman’s lawyers are also frustrated, but their frustration stems from what they feel was justice not done in this case.
“We don’t think it was the right decision,” said attorney Andrew Stroth. “They have video showing our client was shot twice in the back as he ran away. Unarmed. Shot in the back.”
Attorney Gregory Kulis took aim at Cook County Prosecutor Kim Foxx, criticizing her for charging Bogard with the first shot but not the second, which hit Roman in the back. He also hinted that the ruling could encourage other officers to use their guns unnecessarily.
“According to the judge, they couldn’t get him handcuffed at first,” Kulis continued. “I think it’s okay to just shoot someone. It’s okay to try to kill a man you’re controlling with a colleague you’ve trained. And I think it’s okay to shoot him in the stomach and then shoot him in the back again.”
Roman has filed a federal lawsuit against the officials and the city for excessive force. This lawsuit is still pending.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, for his part, called the shooting “unnecessary” and recommended that both Bogard and Butler be fired. The Chicago Police Board will make the final decision on whether to fire the two officers.
https://www.theblaze.com/news/officer-acquitted-in-shooting-of-unarmed-chicago-man Police officer acquitted of shooting dead unarmed Chicago man