Chicago Officer Convicted in Teen Shooting
In an incredibly rare verdict, Chicago Police Officer Marco Proano was convicted of using excessive force during an on-duty shooting. Proano was convicted Monday in the 2013 shooting of two teenagers on the South Side. The shooting occurred in the Princeton Park neighborhood in December of 2013 injuring two teenagers. Officer Proano responded to a call where a fellow officer had reported a stolen vehicle. Proano opened fire on the vehicle firing off a total of 16 shots, hitting one teen in the shoulder and another in the hip. Both victims survived the incident.
What makes this case so significant is not only is it one of our city officers sworn to protect us, it marks the first time in at least 15 years an on-duty officer has been convicted of using excessive force. What do we have to thank for that? As technology grows and is being implemented more in the police force, it’s easier to see exactly what happened at the scene and make more accurate decisions.
While the shooting was nearly four years ago, the use of a dashcam is what solidified the decision for jurors who took only four hours to deliberate that Proano was guilty. Without video evidence it would have been difficult to prove, similar to other officer acquittals, that an officer was using excessive force. The video evidence was played several times over in court and showed that Proano shot at the vehicle even after there was no longer a threat. You can see in the video the vehicle crash into a light pole while the officer continues to fire at close range.
The jury concluded this was an example of excessive force on-duty and the court convicted him. The jury was shown that this behavior was not in cooperation with the mandatory training he’d received at the police academy, including “never fire into a crowd, only fire if you can clearly see your target and to quit shooting once the threat has been eliminated.” Proano violated all of those rules and for that will face his sentencing on November 22, which could be up to ten years in prison for each of the two felony counts. However, he’s expected to receive a much lighter sentence because he has no criminal history.
Proano is expected to be detained next week, because he’s now considered a “danger to the community” until his sentencing. The police force is now moving forward with firing Proano, who has been on unpaid suspension since he was charged last September.
The shooting left two injured, but it proves that justice can still be served even when it comes to on-duty cops. The line is often blurred as to what’s “right” and what’s “wrong,” but with technology leading the way we can count on justice being served. That and proper police training and enforcement in the future will help guide future law officers to react properly on the job.