Chicago, IL — On Monday, Chicago police officer Marco Proano told a jury that when he fired 16 shots into a car full of unarmed teenagers, that was not threatening him, he was just doing his job. However, the dashcam video was so 'gruesome' that a jury did not agree. Proano just became the exception to the rule by actually getting convicted for his crimes.
As the Chicago Tribune reports, in an unprecedented verdict, the jury deliberated about four hours before convicting Proano of two felony counts of using excessive force in violating the victims' civil rights. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count but likely will get far less because he has no prior criminal history.
What's more, even though this officer's sentencing isn't until Nov. 20, federal prosecutors said they will seek to detain Proano as he is a danger to the community.
In spite of the endless torrent of officer-involved shootings coming from Chicago—many of which are caught on video—Proano is the first Chicago cop to be convicted in federal court stemming from an on-duty shooting in recent history.
The family of Laquan McDonald, who was gunned down as he ran away by Officer Jason Van Dyke, is likely encouraged by this ruling as it could pave the way to hold the man accoutnable who murdered their son.
Naturally, the Fraternal Order of Police took to expressing their disappointment with the verdict and attempted to pain Proano as a victim of public scrutiny.
"The pressure on the police is making the job extremely difficult," FOP President Kevin Graham said in the statement. "It seems that the criminal elements in our society are not accountable in our justice system, while the police face an intense scrutiny for every split-second decision they make."
Given the fact that Proano is the first cop to be convicted in memory, Graham's claim of scrutiny for Chicago cops is laughable.
As TFTP reported in 2015, the deeply troubling police dash cam video was kept from the public by the city of Chicago which showed Proano fire into a car occupied by six unarmed teenagers. Police did not want the public to see this video, and after you watch it, you will know why.
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After the shooting, city lawyers successfully convinced a federal judge to put the video under a protective order, which prevented parties to the lawsuit from releasing it publicly. However, after watching the video, Retired Cook County Judge Andrew Berman was so disturbed by what he saw that he leaked it to The Chicago Reporter. Neither Berman nor the Reporter were subject to the order.
“I’ve seen lots of gruesome, grisly crimes,” said. Berman. “But this is disturbing on a whole different level.”
In March of 2015, the teens won a federal lawsuit against the city and three police officers, using the video as the center of their case.
In the video, Proano shoots into a moving car of six unarmed teenagers. Two of the teenagers were shot – one in the shoulder and the other in the left hip and right heel, according to court documents.
CPD's policy prohibits officers from firing at moving vehicles that are not a threat. The teens in the car posed zero threat to Proano, who jumped out of his cruiser and immediately unloaded his weapon into multiple unarmed teenagers.
After the shooting police discovered that the car was stolen. However, the teen was found not guilty because prosecutors were unable to prove he knew the car was stolen. Even if they had stolen this vehicle, the actions of Officer Proano would not have been justified.
For nearly two years—because he and his cronies hid the video—Proano was never disciplined and remained an active member of the Chicago Police Department. Thanks to a judge with a conscience, however, all that has changed.
Below is the video you were never supposed to see.