Chicago police Officer Marco Proano claimed he was just doing his job when he fired 16 shots at a stolen car filled with teenagers on the South Side, wounding two.
But a federal jury decided Monday that the shooting — captured on a police dashboard camera video — wasn’t the action of a cop but a criminal.
In an unprecedented verdict, the jury deliberated about four hours before convicting Proano of two felony counts of using excessive force in violating the victims’ civil rights. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count but likely will get far less because he has no prior criminal history.
Dressed in a dark gray suit and glasses, the 11-year veteran kept his hands clasped in front of him on the defense table and showed no emotion as the verdict was announced in U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman’s hushed courtroom.
Feinerman scheduled sentencing for Nov. 20. But federal prosecutors indicated they will seek next week to detain Proano as a danger to the community.
Proano is the first Chicago cop in memory to be convicted in federal court of criminal charges stemming from an on-duty shooting. He also was the first officer to go to trial in any shooting case since the court-ordered release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in November 2015 sparked heated protests, political turmoil and promises of systemic change from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Earlier this year, a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found the Police Department’s use-of-force training was woefully lacking, part of a systemic failure that led to the routine abuse of citizens’ civil rights.