Felony charges filed against cop who shot unarmed man at Grand Red Line station last year

Melvina Bogard | CPD

A Chicago police officer who shot an unarmed man twice at the Grand Red Line station last year was charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery by discharging a firearm Thursday. Judge Susana Ortiz released Melvina Bogard on her own recognizance after a bond hearing.

Assistant State’s Attorney Ken Goff told Ortiz a mostly-familiar story of how Bogard and her partner, Bernard Butler, confronted 33-year-old Ariel Roman because he passed between train cars in violation of city ordinance around 4:10 p.m. on February 28, 2020.

Roman told the officers that someone in the other car was bothering him, that he had anxiety issues, and he wanted to be alone, Goff said. Bogard, 32, and Butler, 31, escorted him from the train when it arrived at Grand.

Goff said a scuffle broke out when Roman opened his backpack and turned away from officers on the platform. Roman and Butler eventually wound up wrestling on the floor near an escalator for four to five minutes as Bogard repeatedly radioed for help and ordered Roman to stop resisting, Goff said. But the CTA tunnel prevented Bogard’s radio transmissions from being received, Goff and Bogard’s defense attorney said.

Both officers deployed their Tazers twice without any effect, and Roman took control of Butler’s Tazer and cuffs at one point, Goff said. Bogard pointed her pepper spray at Roman and Butler encouraged her to “shoot him,” according to Goff. Bogard deployed the spray, which affected both Roman and her partner.

As Roman got to his feet, Bogard stepped back and said she would shoot him, Goff said.

“Shoot him,” the partner allegedly replied.

Bogard put her handcuffs away, drew her gun, and pointed it at Roman while ordering him to show his hands, Goff continued. Instead, Roman wiped his eyes and took a step forward. Bogard then shot him once in the “chest-abdomen,” Goff said.

Roman took off running up the escalator, and Bogard, still holding her gun in her right hand, shot him again, striking him in the rear buttock. He fell to the floor at the top of the escalator and was taken into custody.

CTA passengers recorded parts of the incident on their phones, and the transit agency’s surveillance system also recorded what happened, Goff said.

Defense attorney Tim Grace said Bogard’s father died when she was three months old, and she was raised by a single mom who worked as a Chicago police officer for 25 years until she recently reached the mandatory retirement age.

“She’s a cop and comes from a cop family,” Grace said.

Roman ignored 25 commands to stop resisting, bent one of the officer’s metal cuffs, and had “enough cocaine in his system, that could tranquilize a moderately-sized horse,” Grace argued.

The Chicago Police Department has taken steps to fire Bogard and Butler. Their cases remain in front of the Chicago Police Board. A federal criminal investigation was also launched after the shooting.

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