CHICAGO - A Chicago police officer, on Tuesday, was acquitted of felony charges tied to shooting an unarmed man on a busy CTA platform in February 2020.
During a bench trial, Cook County Judge Joseph Claps found CPD Officer Melvina Bogard not guilty of aggravated battery and official misconduct charges.
"Judge Claps listened intently to that case and Judge Claps made the right ruling, there is no doubt about that," said Tim Grace, Bogard’s attorney.
The shooting of Ariel Roman was captured on cell phone video and police body cameras. Attorneys for Roman say they believe a lot was ignored during the bench trial.
"What happened today was a failure of our criminal justice system and what happened to Ariel is clearly on video," said Andrew Stroth, Roman’s attorney.
Inside the Grand Avenue Red Line station in February 2020, two shots were fired by police – both of them, striking Ariel Roman.
CPD Officer Bogard and her partner were confronting Roman about jumping trains.
He tried to get away and a struggle ensued.
Roman was tased and pepper-sprayed but still managed to free himself.
That's when Bogard shot Roman twice. One of those times, attorneys say, was as he was heading up the escalator.
"The only thing the judge had to look at was the first shot, and the second shot wasn’t even presented to the court," said Gregory Kulis, Roman’s attorney. "According to the judge, they could not get him initially in handcuffs, so I guess it’s okay to just go shoot someone."
Roman's attorneys and local activists say he is still suffering emotionally and physically.
"Ariel Roman’s life has been permanently altered, multiple surgeries, a colostomy bag," said Eric Russell, activist, Tree of Life Justice League.
Bogard's attorney says his client, who did not testify, was following her police training.
"Ariel Roman, he dictated how this encounter happened. He’s the one that ignored over 30 verbal commands to ‘stop resisting,’ ‘show us your hands,’ ‘let go of the taser,’" said Grace. "I don’t know how we’ve come to a point in our society where citizens can believe they do not have to follow the lawful orders of police officers and law enforcement."
CPD moved to fire Bogard last year, but a decision is still pending a hearing before the police board.
"We took administrative action and thought it was quite appropriate to separate the officer from the police department based on the violations identified by COPA," said Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, during a news conference Tuesday.
Roman's attorneys say they will continue seeking justice for their client in an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit.