Marco Proano, 42, a former Chicago police officer, was sentenced to five years in federal prison on December 4, 2017 for unloading his weapon on a car full of teenagers in 2015.
Proano, an 11-year veteran of the force, was indicted in September 2016 for using unreasonable force on the teens. The Chicago Reporter obtained dashcam footage of the incident, which showed Proano firing a barrage of bullets into a car he had just pulled over for speeding. The car was stolen, and had been backing up when Proano began shooting.
According to USA Today, one of the teens was wounded in the shoulder, and his face was grazed by bullets. Another was hit in the left hip and right heel, and a third suffered injuries to his eye. The city paid out $360,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the teens.
This was not Proano’s first shooting. USA Today reported that he fatally shot 19-year-old Niko Husband in July 2011. Husband was allegedly holding a woman hostage when Proano shot him to death during a struggle. Husband’s family obtained a $3.5 million judgment over the incident, but the award was reversed by a Cook County judge.
Chicago has seen more than its share of police brutality issues. In 2015, officer Jason Van Dyke was indicted on charges of first-degree murder after he shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Dash cam footage of that incident showed the teenage suspect fleeing as Van Dyke gunned him down.
Daniel Herbert, who represents both Proano and Van Dyke, said that Proano was “sacrificed to the furor” of the McDonald case.
“It would be naïve to ignore the facts here and fail to recognize that Mr. Proano served as somewhat of a scapegoat in the case,” wrote Herbert in a court filing.
Originally published in Criminal Legal News on March 12, 2018.