The city of Chicago is seeking to dismiss two officers involved in the controversial shooting of an unarmed man on a busy CTA platform in February 2020.
The Feb. 28 incident was captured by a commuter armed with a cell phone camera, which depicted officers struggling on the platform at Grand Avenue and State Street with a man named Ariel Roman, who they encountered on a Red Line train and detained after he allegedly crossed from car to car while the train was in motion.
The cell phone video showed a bizarre scene with the two officers wrestling with Roman on the floor of the station near an escalator as oblivious commuters walked around the melee at the height of the evening rush hour.
In the video, the officers' taser guns are seen laying beneath the three, as Officer Bernard Butler shouts, "Shoot him!" Officer Melvina Bogard is seen deploying chemical spray, but Roman somehow manages to get back on his feet.
A pending federal lawsuit described what is alleged to have happened next.
"Bogard thereafter shot Ariel Roman in the stomach," the complaint states. "Unarmed and afraid for his life, plaintiff Ariel Roman turned to run up the escalator stairs to escape from being shot and killed. Defendant Bogard then shot him again."
CTA cameras captured Roman collapsing at the top of the escalator, as CTA riders stepped around and over him in an effort to continue their treks home.
City charges filed against the two officers this week accuse both of failing to use proper de-escalation procedures. Bogard is cited for improper use of her taser and chemical spray and using deadly force "that was not necessary." Butler was accused, among other things, with "unauthorized force," and struggling with Roman on the edge of the train platform, placing him in danger of falling onto the tracks.
Attorney Timothy Grace, who represents Bogard, said in an email to NBC 5 that his client found herself in a life-threatening situation with an active resister who turned into an assailant.
"Officer Bogard's partner was incapacitated and defenseless when the offender advanced towards her to continue his assault," Grace said. "Officer Bogard was in fear for her life as well as her partner's life and the situation required the use of deadly force."
Grace called a decision by the city's Civilian Office of Police Accountability against the officers a "deliberate circumvention of the Department's use of deadly force policy."
"Police officers should not have to be killed before they can respond," he said.
Attorney Andrew M. Stroth, who represents Roman, said he feels the video speaks for itself.
"The officers almost killed Ariel Roman," Stroth said. "He was unarmed, he did not present a threat, and he suffered severe injuries as a result of being shot by police."