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Veteran Chicago Police Lieutenant Wilfredo Roman, Jr., a Chicago cop since June 2000, is the third city officer to be arrested on allegations of using excessive force. The charges come the day after two other Chicago cops had court appearances for the alleged beating of a 17-year-old boy they were trying to arrest earlier this year on the South Side after a car chase. Grand Crossing District Officers Jeffery Shafer and Victor Guebara were also charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct in that case.
Roman, the tactical lieutenant in the Grand Central patrol district on the far West and Northwest Side, is charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. According to spokeswoman Tandra Simonton, Cook County state’s attorney’s office, both are felonies.
Chicago, like many police forces across the country, needs reformation. CPD’s policing history is troubled with multiple high-profile scandals. However, the city’s policing has gone through the same pattern of “scandal, reform, repeat” for at least 60 years, according to Sharon Fairley, the former head of the city agency that investigates allegations of police misconduct. Fairley, who is now a University of Chicago law professor, added:
We have a scandal. We enact reforms, and then we wait. And then it happens again. And there’s another scandal. And then we enact reforms, and then we sort of get complacent again.
What we’re seeing today is that there is just a demand for fundamental change that I think and hope is going to create the opportunity for us all to design a … system that can last and not have to be rebuilt, changed or added to every time there’s an incident.
Reform is not easy in Chicago. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said she is serious about reform, though she doesn’t support calls to defund the police. Since the 2019 election, she has made safer neighborhoods a priority, and that includes keeping the police budget at existing levels.
January 13, 2021, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that will significantly alter the way police and other law enforcement officers operate in the state, despite strong objections from both police and citizens. HB 3653 passed both the state House and Senate in just a few hours.
Lt. Wilfredo Roman, Jr. is named in three misconduct lawsuits that cost the city $278,000. His arrest now marks at least the fourth time since early August that a Chicago cop has been arrested on felony charges. On Aug. 5, Officer Melvina Bogard, 32, was charged with shooting a man in 2020 during a long struggle on the Grand Avenue platform downtown, scattering Red Line commuters at rush hour. Bogard was the first cop in about five years to face charges in Cook County stemming from using a gun while on duty.
Officers Shafer and Guebara were released on their own recognizance after a bail hearing. They were relieved of police powers in January. Veteran Chicago Police Lieutenant Wilfredo Roman, Jr. is the third city officer to be arrested and is expected in bond court Thursday.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Chicago Tribune: Chicago police lieutenant facing criminal charges
WTTW News: CPD Officer Arrested, Charged in On-Duty Shooting at Grand Red Line Station
NPR: After Decades Of Police Corruption, Can Chicago Finally Reform Its Force?
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