FOX 32 / SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A Chicago Police officer has been charged in federal court with violating the civil rights of two teenagers he shot in 2013.
Marco Proano was released on $10,000 bail, court records show. The indictment doesn’t identify the alleged victims but accuses the officer of violating their civil rights on Dec. 22, 2013.
On that day, a police vehicle’s dashboard camera captured Proano firing his handgun into a car full of teenagers who were pulled over for speeding on the South Side. Two of the teens were wounded.
The teenagers settled a lawsuit against the city for $360,000.
Although the city obtained a protective order to keep the video of the shooting from being released to the public, retired Cook County Judge Andrew Berman did just that.
Berman presided over a criminal trial for one of the teenagers in the car.
The teen was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, but the judge found prosecutors didn’t prove that he knew the car was stolen.
Berman released the video to the media in June 2015. He was not bound by the protective order the city entered in federal court.
He told the Chicago Reporter at the time that Proano “shouldn’t be allowed to be out there with a gun. He has shown callous disregard for human life.”
In May 2015, the Chicago Sun-Times reported the FBI was investigating the shootings near 95th and LaSalle.
At the time of the incident, the police department said in a statement that the teens were wounded after officers curbed a stolen car packed with joyriders.
The driver ran and a passenger moved into the driver’s seat and threw the car into reverse, the department said. Fearing for those in the car, the officer fired his weapon and struck two teens in the vehicle, the department said.
A spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police said the driver backed up toward officers as a passenger tried to exit. Officers ordered the car to stop, but the car moved forward and dragged the passenger.
The officer fired on the car to protect the passenger, the spokesman said. A replica gun was found in the car, he said.
A long-standing policy barred Chicago Police officers from firing on vehicles in most situations.
In 2002, the police department created new rules on firing at vehicles after an officer shot at a stolen car containing a toddler in the back seat. The officer said he feared the car would run over him.
Under that policy, “Firing at or into a moving vehicle is only authorized to prevent death or great bodily harm to the sworn member or another person. When confronted with an oncoming vehicle and that vehicle is the only force used against them, sworn members will move out of the vehicle’s path.”
Last year, the department’s policy was revised to bar officers from “firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person.”
One activist said the charges send an important to the community.
"The officer was over aggressive, and the dashcam, the picture, the video shows that lies were told, false reports were made. But the community needs to hear that wrongs can be righted, because we need some good news now," said Reverend Greg Livingston.
Livingston said it also sends a message to other officers that there will be accountability for unreasonable force. He's hopeful it can lead to better police community relations in general.
"Let our young men be more careful in terms of dealing with police officers, let the police officers be more careful in dealing with our youth out here. We all have to do something, it's not an either or, it's a both," Livingston said.