COPA Releases Video of Police-Involved Shooting at Grand Red Line Stop

Chicago police officers respond to Ariel Roman, who is seated on the ground moments after he was shot by a different officer inside the Grand Red Line station on Feb. 28, 2020. (Civilian Office of Police Accountability)Chicago police officers respond to Ariel Roman, who is seated on the ground moments after he was shot by a different officer inside the Grand Red Line station on Feb. 28, 2020. (Civilian Office of Police Accountability)

Newly released body camera footage taken from officers who responded to a police shooting of an unarmed man at the CTA’s Grand Red Line station shows the moments leading up to and immediately following the February incident.

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The Civilian Office of Police Accountability on Tuesday released 18 total videos, including body camera footage from five Chicago police officers who were on the scene after the nonfatal Feb. 28 shooting of 33-year-old Ariel Roman.

The release does not include footage from the two officers directly involved in the shooting, but COPA did release widely viewed third-party footage taken by a witness which showed much of the incident.

That video, which was uploaded to social media shortly after the shooting, showed the two officers – one male and one female – struggling with Roman at the base of a staircase inside the Grand station.

Minutes before the shooting, officers riding the same train as Roman saw him walking from one subway car to another, which is illegal under city ordinance.

The witness’ video shows a male officer lying on top of Roman at the base of an escalator and struggling to keep the man still. The man can be heard saying, “I did nothing to you,” as the officer keeps telling him, “Stop resisting.” As they stand up, a female officer appears to try to pepper-spray the man’s face before telling him to show his hands so the officers can handcuff him.

The man refuses to be handcuffed and as he stands, stun guns that the officers apparently used on the man can be seen on the floor.

The male officer can be heard repeatedly telling the female officer to shoot Roman.

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 out of view of the camera; it’s unclear which officer fired the shots.

Those two officers have since been stripped of their police powers by then-interim police Superintendent Charlie Beck. Roman, who survived the shooting, has filed a lawsuit against the officers involved.

Two days after Roman was shot, officials said the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had dropped resisting arrest and criminal narcotics charges against him at Beck’s request.

Beyond the body camera footage and witness video, COPA also released surveillance footage from inside the train where police first approached Roman and at the station where bystanders began to flee after hearing the gunshots.

A COPA spokesman said the office’s investigation into the actions of those officers is ongoing. Immediately following the shooting, COPA recommended they be relieved of police powers “due to the serious nature of both officer’s actions and the Department concurred.”

“COPA is committed to conducting a full, thorough and objective investigation before reaching a determination of the appropriateness of the officers’ use of force,” the office wrote in a statement Tuesday afternoon, “and is also working in coordination with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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