CHICAGO — A retired Cook County judge was so disturbed by a dashboard video of a Chicago police officer firing into a car of teens that he released it to the media — despite the officer's attempts to hide it.
The Chicago Reporter released the shocking video late Wednesday, which shows Officer Marco Proano opening fire at a vehicle in the 9400 block of South LaSalle Street, which had six unarmed black teenagers inside. Two of the teens were wounded in the shooting.
An initial police statement said a weapon was recovered from the vehicle, but subsequent legal filings show that the teens had no weapons.
The day of the shooting — December 22, 2013 — Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden told DNAinfo the driver was "coming at the officers" with the vehicle, but the video clearly shows the car backing away from officers, not coming toward them.
Watch the video here:
The Reporter also obtained legal documents showing efforts made by Proano's family to keep the video secret, but retired Cook County Judge Andrew Berman provided it to the magazine.
"You don’t start firing into a car full of unarmed people,” Berman told the Reporter. “You just don’t do that.”
The Chicago Police Department has changed its policy on firing at moving vehicles since the 2013 incident. The department issued the following statement Thursday:
"Each time an officer fires their weapon is a serious matter, which is why the city takes two very important steps for each shooting incident: we conduct an independent, civilian led investigation, and we refer each incident to prosecutors to determine if criminal charges are appropriate. In regard to this incident, the officer was immediately moved off the street and assigned to desk duty, and the matter was referred to state and federal authorities. Due to pending investigations by IPRA [Independent Police Review Authority] and federal authorities, CPD cannot comment further.
Additionally, following a review of policies, earlier this year Superintendent McCarthy changed department policy to clarify that officers are prevented from firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person. This updated directive is more restrictive and in line with best practices that other departments are using around the country."
Larry L. Merritt of IPRA wrote in a statement Friday:
“IPRA thoroughly investigates every officer involved shooting. At the outset, we refer each and every case to prosecutors for their review and a determination if criminal charges may be warranted prior to taking certain steps in conducting our own administrative investigation. This is done because a criminal investigation always takes precedence over an administrative investigation. This case has been actively investigated by IPRA since the incident occurred and was referred to prosecutors shortly after it took place in December 2013. At the time of the incident, Officer Proano was removed from his District of assignment and placed on desk duty at Public Safety Headquarters. The incident remains under investigation by federal authorities and IPRA.”
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