Roman surrendered to the CPD Bureau Internal Affairs Division on Wednesday night, and his bond was set at $5,000 on Thursday afternoon. He was charged with felony aggravated battery in a public place and official misconduct and was released from custody about two hours after his hearing. Per the outlet, Roman posted an I-bond, which means he didn’t have to post any money and merely had to promise he’d return for his next court date.
The incident in question occurred on February 9th in the community of Belmont Cragin, where the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said that two teen boys – ages 16 and 17 – approached a man sitting in a 2005 silver Mazda on the 1900 block of North La Crosse Avenue at around 8:35 p.m. The eldest boy pointed a gun at the man, and demanded his keys, prosecutors said. Roman spotted the stolen Mazda at around 8:55 p.m. and said over police radio that the teens were fleeing from the car on foot before embarking on a chase.
More officers responded and saw the two teens run into an alley. When they approached the 16-year-old, he allegedly threw a Hi-Point C9 handgun over the fence and began to climb over before he was arrested. The 17-year-old meanwhile surrendered, and was placed in handcuffs, which he complained were too tight, prosecutors said. While the officer adjusted his handcuffs, Roman apparently told the teen to “shut up” before he approached him from behind and shoved his flashlight between his clothed buttocks. The teen yelled out in pain, and prosecutors said that Roman again told him to “shut up.” “That’s what you get for carjacking,” Roman allegedly said as he walked away. Prosecutors claimed that the whole incident was captured on body cam footage.
“This is a spank or a spanking, for the love of God. I had nuns that treated me far worse,” Roman’s attorney James McKay told Cook County Judge Arthur Wesley Willis during Roman’s hearing. “Your honor, the flashlight in question is smaller than my pen,” he added.
McKay additionally told the judge that the teen did not require medical attention after the incident, a claim that upset the judge. “The fact that the individual may have engaged in a serious felony offense does not mean he should be treated in any way different than anyone else who may come into contact with police,” the judge replied to McKay. “That is not an argument that this court finds very persuasive.”
The Chicago Police Department additionally said in a statement to the New York Post that they had relieved Roman of his police duties in July after this incident came to light, and that further reprimands were possible once the investigation concludes.
This isn’t the first time Roman has been accused of police misconduct. Data collected by the watchdog group Invisible Institute showed that he’s been the focus of at least 40 other misconduct allegations, 10 of which are for the use of excessive force. He wasn’t disciplined for any of them except for a reprimand involving a prisoner escape. Roman was also once named in a federal lawsuit in which he and another officer were accused of using a stun gun on an 82-year-old woman. The judge did not order Roman to turn in his service weapon, and said he was leaving that decision up to the department.