A Chicago police officer who “came out of his car like a cowboy” has been convicted of two felony chargers after he fired 16 shots at a stolen car full of teenagers in 2013.
Jurors deliberated for four hours before convicting officer Marco Proano, 42, who has been on unpaid leave since the shooting, for violating the victims’ civil rights by using excessive force, according to The Chicago Tribune. Proano was charged for the shooting largely based on dash cam footage, which shows the 11-year veteran quite casually opening fire on the stolen vehicle. Praono faces a maximum of 10 years for the shooting.
During the trial, U.S. assistant attorney Erika Csicsila characterized Proano as lawless cowboy who “pulled his gun out, held it to one side and aimed it at those kids to send a message and to show who was in charge.”
Here’s how The Tribune summarized the prosecution’s case:
Prosecutors said the dashcam video of the shooting — which unfolded in about nine seconds — showed Proano violated all of the training he received at the Police Academy, including to never fire into a crowd, only fire if you can clearly see your target and to stop shooting once the threat has been eliminated.
Proano’s excessive use of force seems to be somewhat routine for the 11-year veteran. The Tribune reported that he shot and wounded a woman in 2010, then fatally shot a teenager outside a party in 2011. Both incidents weren’t investigated and Proano was actually awarded a commendation of valor after the 2011 shooting. (Prosecutors were prevented from presenting Proano’s past on-duty shootings as evidence in the case.)
But Proano’s horrifying track record is emblematic of Chicago’s trigger-happy police force. Considering CPD’s systemic and flagrant abuse of civil rights, which the Justice Department blamed on “deficiencies in training and accountability” following its investigation, Proano’s conviction is incredibly rare. Officers who were charged in the shooting of Laquan McDonald that sparked national outrage are still awaiting trial.
Retired Cook County judge Andrew Berman leaked a copy of the shooting’s dash cam footage to The Chicago Reporter because he was disturbed “on a whole different level” by Proano’s “grisly” actions. Here’s the full video: