CHICAGO — A Chicago Police officer pled not guilty Thursday to using unreasonable force in to the shooting of two teens in 2013, according to federal prosecutors.
Marco Proano, 41, was charged Friday with two federal civil rights violations, stemming from a traffic stop he made in Roseland.
Police said in a statement at the time that officers tried to pull over a speeding car in the 9400 block of South LaSalle Street about 5:05 p.m. The driver took off running after the car stopped, and police called for assistance, according to the statement.
Pat Camden, the Fraternal Order of Police spokesman at the time, said the car was stolen and had seven men inside. When officers approached the car, a man in the back seat tried to get out, and the driver put the car in reverse "coming at the officers," Camden said.
Officers fired at the vehicle, striking two of the people inside, Camden said. The car then drove forward, dragging the passenger and heading away from police, Camden said.
In June, the Chicago Reporter released a video of the incident which showed Proano opening fire on a vehicle in the 9400 block of South LaSalle Street, in which everyone was unarmed. Two teens were wounded in the shooting.
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon announced Friday that a grand jury returned an indictment charging Proano with two counts of "deprivation of rights under color of law."
“When a police officer uses unreasonable force, it has a harmful effect on not only the victims, but also the public, who lose faith and confidence in law enforcement,” Fardon said. “Our office will continue to independently and vigorously pursue civil rights prosecutions to hold officers accountable and strengthen trust in the police."
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon (file photo)
After the release of the video, Independent Police Review Authority spokesman Larry Merritt said his agency had investigated the shooting:
"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," Merritt said. "At the time of the incident, Officer Proano was removed from his district of assignment and placed on desk duty at Public Safety headquarters."
Last year, a jury awarded $3.5 million to the family of Niko Husband, a 19-year-old fatally shot by Proano in 2011 in what was deemed a justified police-involved shooting. But a Cook County judge overruled that jury award, according to the Tribune.
Since 2011, Proano has had at least eight complaints filed against him, including two use of force cases. None of those cases resulted in punishment.
Proano remains on the city's payroll, according to city records.
The next hearing for Proano is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 26, prosecutors said.
The scene of the shooting of two teens in Roseland on Dec. 22, 2013 [DNAinfo/Devlin Brown]
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