The Chicago Reporter recently obtained a Chicago Police Department (CPD) dashboard camera footage that shows a police officer identified as Marco Proano firing multiple rounds into a car filled with African-American teenagers.
According to the Reporter, the action was apparently in violation of Chicago Police Department (CPD) policy which prohibits “firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person.”
The newly released video highlights once again claims – backed by recent video recordings – that police officers tend to resort to excessive force when dealing with black suspects.
The footage recorded on December 22, 2013, shows Officer Proano, shooting repeatedly into a car of six black teenagers at the 95th and LaSalle streets on Chicago’s South Side.
Proano admitted in a court filing that he was the officer shown in the video shooting into the car filled with teenagers.
He began shooting into the car after he pulled it over for speeding and the driver began reversing away from him. Court documents reveal that two teenagers were hit – one sustained a gunshot wound on the shoulder and the other wounds in the right heel and left hip.
The teens were unarmed at the time.
According to the Chicago Reporter’s Jonah Newman, retired Cook County Judge Andrew Berman, who heard a criminal case involving one of the teenagers, provided the video to the Reporter.
Police investigators found after the shooting that the car was stolen. Three of the six teens were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. But Berman, who heard the case against one of the teens before his retirement, determined that the prosecution failed to prove that the teenager knew the car was stolen and thus found the teen not guilty.
The video was key evidence in a separate civil lawsuit against the city and three police officers, including Proano. The court ruled in March in favor of the teenagers awarding $360,000 payout.
Although, an order had been secured preventing parties to the lawsuit from releasing the video, Berman made the video available to the Chicago Reporter because he was not bound by the order.
The retired judge expressed shock at the action of the officer, saying he had never seen anything like that in 35 years of his career, first as a public defender and later as a judge.
“My first reaction was, if those are white kids in the car, there’s no way they [would] shoot. You don’t start firing into a car full of unarmed people. You just don’t do that.
“I’ve seen lots of gruesome, grisly crimes. But this is disturbing on a whole different level.
“He shouldn’t be allowed to be out there with a gun. He has shown callous disregard for human life.”
CPD court records show that Proano had several complaints filed against him between 2011 and 2015, one involving an allegation of use of excessive force. He was cleared in six of the previous complaints, including the one alleging excessive force.
Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) is still investigating the incident 18 months after, and the FBI has refused to deny or confirm that it is involved in investigations, according to the Chicago Reporter.
Meanwhile, Proano remains on the force after being assigned to desk duty without disciplinary action taken against him.
[Images: YouTube/The Chicago Reporter]