CHICAGO – Extended security and body-cam video released Tuesday shows Chicago police shooting an unarmed short-order cook at the foot of a subway escalator and then again with his back turned to officers after they tried to stop him for violating a city ordinance by walking from one train car to another.
The Chicago Transit Authority and police body-cam videos for the first time provide a detailed look at how the incident unfolded from the time Ariel Roman used a subway’s gangway doors to when he was shot for the second time after scrambling away from officers up the escalator. Roman, 33, survived but was severely injured.
In the most striking video segment from a CTA camera, Roman is seen running up to the top of the escalator in the busy red line station holding a coat in his right hand. With the pursuing officers about 10 feet behind him, and with his back still turned to them, a female officer shoots him and he immediately slams face first onto the floor. The officer reholsters her gun and appears to handcuff him.
The Feb. 28 shooting raised questions about whether the Chicago Police Department is complying with a court-monitored reform plan that, among other things, seeks to remedy decades of excessive force by the 13,000-officer force through training that stresses conflict de-escalation.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot characterized the shooting at the time as "extremely disturbing” based on a short bystander video. She also said she wanted a full picture of what happened.
One of Roman’s Chicago lawyers, Andrew M. Stroth, said Tuesday the shooting and disturbing video posed a test for Lightfoot and new Police Superintendent David Brown, who comes from Dallas with a reputation as a reformer.
“While managing the COVID pandemic is the top priority, Mayor Lightfoot must address another crisis in Chicago and that is the use of excessive and lethal force by Chicago police officers," he said.
The new videos were released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the city agency that investigates alleged misconduct by police.