CHICAGO (CBS) — A disturbing cellphone video has been viewed nearly 2 million times since Friday afternoon, when a Chicago Police officer shot a man during a struggle at the Grand Avenue Red Line station.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reviewed the video Monday with some use-of-force experts.
Many of them were already familiar with the case, since the incident has now made national headlines. All of them agreed that the cell phone video was problematic.
The charges of resisting arrest and criminal narcotics against Ariel Roman were dropped on Sunday. But the fallout from the widely-shared cellphone recording of his arrest and shooting continued three days later.
Two officers got into a struggle at the Grand Avenue stop on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line after the officers tried to stop Roman from moving between train cars.
Video posted on social media shows two officers struggling to handcuff Roman on the train platform at the bottom of the stairs. In the video, an officer is heard yelling for Roman to “stop resisting” – something the officer screamed more than 10 times.
The officers then both deploy their Tasers. But Roman breaks free, staggers to his feet and appears to wipe his face, apparently from pepper spray.
One of the officers then steps back and pulls her weapon and yells, “Sir, put your hands down!” The second the officers yells, “Shoot him!”
Seconds later, the female officer draws her weapon, and when Roman walks away from the wall while rubbing his face, a first shot rings out.
After that shot was fired, Roman runs up the escalator. Both officers pursue him. After Roman reaches the top of the escalator, another shot is heard off camera. One of Tasers is also seen on the escalator stairs.
Another video on social media shows Roman lying at the top of the escalator unresponsive with two officers standing over him. It is unclear if those are the same officers who pursued him up the steps.
As the struggle continues for at least three minutes, Roman is heard saying, “I didn’t do nothing to you guys!”
The use-of-force experts took issue in particular with the circumstances of the shooting, given that Roman was walking away.
“The law simply doesn’t allow what I saw in the video,” said University of Pittsburgh law professor David A. Harris.
“I don’t see him strike the officers. I don’t see him at any time with a weapon,” said Retired LAPD SWAT Sgt. Scott Defoe.
Both Harris and Defoe said the video does not suggest that Roman was a deadly threat. And police are not allowed to use deadly force to prevent an escape – which appeared to be what happened when the shot rang out as Roman ran up the escalator.
Harris also questioned the very act of police using deadly force in a subway. The male officer’s “shoot him” commands are also problematic, he said.
“‘Shoot him, shoot him,’ which I heard a couple of times, is not the right thing to say,” he said.
Harris and Defoe both said the commands are unclear and easily misinterpreted.
“It does not appear to be objectively reasonable,” Defoe said.
Hickey asked Defoe whether he would be surprised if charges were filed against one or both of the officers in this case.
“They have to look first if there were any laws that were broken,” he said.
He added, “One thing that the public doesn’t often understand is how high the standard is.”
Still, Harris said, charges could be a possibility against the officers.
“I’ve seen cases similar to this where there have been criminal findings on these officers,” he said.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating this case. A representative of the office had no update for us Monday, but said this investigation is ongoing.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office had no update Monday when we asked about possible charges.
Roman was shot twice. He was recovering Monday night.
The officers were placed on administrative duty.