Chicago, IL — In February, Ariel Roman, 33, while traveling on Chicago’s public transit train, walked from one train car to another. That is all. For this action, two officers, assigned to Chicago’s mass transit unit, chased him and tackled him on the train platform before one of them opened fire. The unarmed man was shot twice. The video was so outrageous even the mayor weighed in, calling it “extremely disturbing.” The FBI was subsequently called in to investigate and now multiple videos have been released showing what amounts to little more than attempted murder by two of Chicago’s finest.
Chicago cops are notoriously corrupt. The Free Thought Project has countless articles in our archives involving Chicago’s finest and their violent tendencies to attack, maim, and kill often entirely innocent people. They are almost never held accountable despite many of these egregious acts being captured on video. When the FBI is called in, however, there is likely a higher chance of accountability happening—though only slightly higher.
Though they have yet to be charged for shooting the unarmed man in his back, Officer Melvina Bogard and Officer Bernard Butler have been relieved of their duties as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) investigates the shooting.
TFTP reported on the original cellphone video that went viral. However, as part of the investigation, COPA has released more than a dozen more videos, including a clearer and longer cellphone video and surveillance footage, showing just how unnecessary Roman’s shooting was.
Though COPA released multiple body cameras from officers who responded after the shooting, they conveniently omitted the body cameras from Bogard and Butler — most likely because it shows an attempted murder by one of their officers. One does not need these videos, however, to conclude that what happened was nothing short of attempted murder.
When the original video was released in February, it prompted outrage, as it should have. When the true reason for Roman’s detainment came to light, there was even more backlash after it was discovered he had merely violated a minor city ordinance that says citizens cannot move to a different train car. He didn’t even commit a criminal offense.
“I didn’t see any reason to take him into custody, I didn’t see any reason to detain him, there was never any conversation about issuing any type of citation,” said Greg Kulis, Roman’s attorney. “You can see that Ariel is totally cooperative, is not aggressive, not abrasive.”
As the below video shows, after being harassed and detained for walking to a different train, Roman simply tries to walk away. But the officers do not let him.
According to his attorneys, Roman was having an anxiety attack, which is why he walked between trains and why he walked away from the two cops who detained him over a non-crime.
Despite posing no threat whatsoever to these officers, they continued to escalate force. The new longer and clearer cellphone video shows why that force was unnecessary.
As the video shows, when the two officers tackled Roman, he never once attempted to harm them. Never once did Roman swing or punch at the officers or attempt to grab their guns. Instead, the man simply tried to get away from two armed people attempting to kidnap and cage him over a minor ordinance violation.
Video shows that after appearing to deploy tasers and pepper spray to subdue Roman, the man repeatedly says, “I didn’t do nothing to you guys.”
After the two officers were unable to subdue Roman, he stands up and tries to walk away.
Bogard then steps back and pulls her weapon and yells, “Sir, put your f***ing hands down!” as Butler yells, “Shoot him!”
At this point, Bogard opens fire on the unarmed and non-threatening man. When he tries to walk away again, boom, another shot rings out as onlookers watch in utter disbelief. In the newly released footage, we see Roman walking up the escalator and then collapse when he is shot in the back.
Roman was shot once in the abdomen and once in the buttocks. Luckily he survived but not without grave injuries.
According to one of Roman’s attorneys, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, Roman was left with debilitating injuries.
According to CBS Chicago, Roman was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital after the shooting, and has had at least two surgeries. Rodriguez said the gunshot wound to his stomach destroyed the tissue connecting his bladder to his small intestine, and the bullet that hit him in the buttocks is still lodged in his back, and can’t be removed, because it’s too close to his sciatic nerve.
“Ariel was unarmed, and the officers knew he was unarmed. He also did not commit a crime; it was a city ordinance violation. The officers – who are trained – should have relaxed, and chilled, and taken time, called backup. The notion that an officer would shoot her service revolver twice is astonishing,” said Roman’s other attorney, Andrew Stroth.
After he was shot, police charged Roman with resisting arrest and narcotics possession. However, once the video went viral, Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck asked prosecutors to drop the case and prosecutors obliged.
Naturally, the police union is furious that the officers are being investigated and that the charges were dropped. Instead of worrying about why their officers tried to kill an unarmed man over a silly ordinance violation, the union went on the defensive and blamed the public for not stepping up to help the cops.
Union president Kevin Graham asked on Facebook at the time: “Why has the superintendent and the mayor not commented on the fact that not one individual assisted these officers during the struggle to place the offender clearly engaged in felony resisting into custody, an offender who once again failed to comply with police orders?”
Well, Graham, perhaps it’s because they didn’t want to get shot too.
Since the shooting, Roman’s family has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for his hospital bills. On the page, Roman’s family described him as someone who stands against injustice.
“My brother is not perfect, but then again, none of us are,” the family of Ariel Roman wrote on the page. “He has had some ups and downs in his life, but he has the kindest selfless heart you’ll ever find in this world. Family is everything to him. He loves to make people laugh. He dislikes injustice, and he is the kind of person who will step in and break up a fight or defend someone else, even if they are a stranger.”
“This GoFundMe page is difficult for me and my family to create, but we are at the mercy of our circumstances and have no other means to help my brother with his daily needs and expenses. We are very concerned that he will not be able to continue receiving medical care once he is discharged from emergency treatment,” his family wrote.
If you’d like to help Roman, you can do so on their page, here.
Below is the disturbing new surveillance footage showing a Chicago cop shoot an unarmed man in the back while he walks away.