Charges dropped against man shot by Chicago cop at Grand station


Michael McDunnah via AP

This Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 image from cellphone video shows Chicago police officers trying to apprehend a suspect inside a downtown Chicago train station. After a struggle with police, the suspect was shot as he fled up the escalator with the officers in pursuit. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said video footage of police shooting and wounding the suspect is “extremely disturbing” and that she supports the interim police superintendent’s request for prosecutors to be sent directly to the scene.

A man shot and seriously wounded by a Chicago police officer in a downtown train station won’t face charges, as prosecutors on Sunday dropped the criminal case stemming from an incident captured on bystander video and shared widely.

Cook County prosecutors moved to drop resisting arrest and criminal narcotics charges against Ariel Roman at the request of Chicago police, which was approved Sunday by a judge, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck said he asked Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to drop the charges, which were initiated by police, according to a statement.

“Given the totality of circumstances and the department’s significant level of concern around this incident, it would be insensitive to advocate for these charges,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “While we will not rush to judgment, the level of concern over the tactics used in this incident is significant.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said footage of Friday’s shooting was “extremely disturbing” and that she supported Beck’s rare request for prosecutors to be sent directly to the scene. The shooting came the same day that Lightfoot and the department announced a safety plan for the city’s rail system amid a spike in crime, including more officers on trains and at stations.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability was investigating the use of force, while the state’s attorney and FBI conducted the underlying criminal review. Guglielmi said the department was cooperating fully.

Foxx’s office said they agreed with Chicago police’s request to drop the charges.

Roman’s attorney, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, has said he underwent surgery after he was shot in the abdomen and buttocks, and that he will likely need more operations. He remained hospitalized Sunday but was no longer in critical condition.

Roman’s family was pleased with the decision to dismiss all charges, said Schmidt Rodriguez. In a statement, she said Roman “remembers everything about the incident that took place and is fully committed to cooperating with the various investigations.”

The shooting happened Friday afternoon. An officer who spotted a man jumping from one car to another in violation of a city ordinance and called for backup, and two officers chased and grabbed the man.

The video shows a male officer on top of the suspect at the base of an escalator, struggling to keep the man still. The suspect can be heard saying, “I didn’t do nothing to you,” as the officer trying to hold him down says, “stop resisting,” several times. They stand up, and a female officer appears to try to pepper spray the man’s face before telling him to show his hands.

The man refuses to be handcuffed. Stun guns can be seen on the floor. With the man still struggling to get away, the female officer shouts, “Give him your hands,” and a gunshot rings out. As the man flees up the escalator with the officers in pursuit, a second shot is fired.

Police have said only one officer fired a weapon, striking Roman twice, but the department has not named either of the officers involved.