Yer out! CPD replaces commander in charge of mayor’s local police district

The veteran Chicago police commander in charge of the district where Mayor Lori Lightfoot lives was unceremoniously reassigned Friday. 

Cmdr. Melvin Roman has been transferred to the department’s Crime Prevention and Information Center effective immediately, said CPD spokesperson Maggie Huynh. The move was made “in anticipation of upcoming retirements,” she said.

But multiple department sources have told CWBChicago that Roman was spiked over the handling of recent protests that closed down intersections and caused disturbances near Lightfoot’s home in Logan Square.

One source pointed to an incident this week in which an unmarked Chicago police vehicle— with lights and siren activated—appeared to strike protesters who ran in front of it as it moved slowly down a sidewalk.

The source said supervisors failed to notify department higher-ups about the incident promptly.

A second source said there was general displeasure among “higher-ups” with the overall handling of the recent protests near Lightfoot’s home.

“Obviously Lightfoot didn’t like the handling of the protesters last night.”

Huynh said she had no information about those reports. Roman’s reassignment is not a demotion, she said.

Roman, who took over the 14th District in May 2019, has been replaced on an interim basis by the man who held the job immediately before him: Cmdr. Fabian Saldana.

Lightfoot has earned a reputation for taking a hands-on approach with police leaders who don’t meet her desires. In May, the commander of CPD’s narcotics unit was demoted to lieutenant and reassigned to the overnight shift in a district 23 miles from his South Side home after he argued against disbanding his team during a conference call with Lightfoot.

The commander’s boss, a deputy chief, was also demoted to lieutenant and reassigned to work in a district station.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com