Chicago, IL – The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has dropped all charges against a suspect who was shot as he brawled with two officers at a subway stop on Friday (video below).
The suspect was “jumping from train [car] to train [car]” in violation of city ordinance when he was confronted by two CPD officers at the 521 North State Street station at approximately 4 p.m., CPD Deputy Superintendent Barbara West said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He was later identified as 33-year-old Ariel Roman, The Washington Post reported.
Roman fled from the officers and ran onto the platform, where they attempted to take him into custody, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Both officers deployed their Tasers during the brawl, but the suspect refused to comply.
Cell phone footage showed a male officer tangled up with the suspect as he wrestled with him at the foot of an escalator.
The officer managed to pin the combative man onto the ground against a wall, keeping a firm grip on the suspect’s one handcuffed hand.
A female officer repeatedly told Roman to give her his other hand, but he refused.
“I didn’t do nothing,” he argued.
As the suspect attempted to squirm out from beneath the male officer, the female officer pulled out her pepper spray.
“Shoot him!” the male officer yelled.
The officer appeared to deploy the spray, at which point Roman rolled onto his knees beneath the male officer and slammed his free fist onto the ground.
He managed to get his feet beneath him as the male officer repeatedly ordered him to stop resisting.
The suspect then rubbed his eyes and took several steps forward, at which point a gunshot rang out while the officers were facing directly across from each other.
Roman pivoted and appeared to get into a momentary physical altercation with the male officer before he ran up the escalator with the officers in pursuit.
A second gunshot rang out a moment later.
Roman was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds to his abdomen and buttocks, the Chicago Tribune reported.
He was listed in stable condition after surgery, and will likely need additional surgical procedures in the future.
The suspect did grab one officer’s handcuffs during the fight, but was not in possession of them at the time of the shooting. It is unclear whether or not he was in possession of a weapon at the time of the incident.
The officers, both of whom have served CPD since 2017, have been placed on administrative leave, as per protocol.
The footage of the officer-involved shooting has been viewed millions of times so far.
“I have viewed the widely shared footage depicting the police-involved shooting at the CTA station,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted on Friday. “With the strong caveat that one perspective does not depict the entirety of the incident, the video is extremely disturbing and the actions by these officers are deeply concerning.”
CPD Superintendent Charlie Beck opted to contact the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office about the incident due to the “potential criminal nature” of the shooting, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“We have serious tactical concerns about what we saw,” CPD Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said on Saturday.
“To ensure full transparency and accountability, I support Superintendent Beck’s decision to contact the State’s Attorney due to the potential criminal nature of this incident,” Lightfoot said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is assisting with the investigation, according to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s Office.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has also launched an investigation into the brawl, WGN reported.
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham blasted the CPD and Lightfoot for their response to the incident.
“Why has the superintendent and the Mayor not commented on the fact that not one individual assisted these officers during the struggle to place the offender clearly engaged in felony resisting into custody, an offender who once again failed to comply with police orders?” Graham asked The Washington Post on Saturday. “Why have they not commented on the potential evidence that the officers called for help but could not be heard on their radios in the CTA tunnels?”
Graham said that the involved officers have not received “their due protection and consideration in a high-stress, dangerous incident.”
On Sunday, Foxx dropped charges against Roman at the request of Superintendent Beck, according to WGN.
Roman had been facing resisting arrest and narcotics-related charges, The Washington Post reported.
“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,” Guglielmi told WGN in a statement.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Attorney Rachel Murphy said that Roman “apparently did nothing more than [jumping] trains,” and said that the incident is “evidence of the lack of meaningful de-escalation” attempts made by the CPD, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A GoFundMe page set up by Roman’s family has raised over $900 so far.
You can watch cell phone footage of the officers’ encounter with the suspect in the videos below: