A dashboard camera video obtained by the Chicago Reporter shows a police officer firing more than a dozen shots into a car filled with black teenagers in apparent violation of Chicago Police Department policy.
Retired Cook County Judge Andrew Berman was so troubled by the video that he provided it to the Chicago Reporter. Berman was the judge in a criminal case against one of the teenagers. He described Proano’s actions as the most unsettling thing he’d seen in his 18 years as a judge and 17 years as a public defender.
“I’ve seen lots of gruesome, grisly crimes,” he said. “But this is disturbing on a whole different level.”
Prior to the incident, two other Chicago officers had stopped the car near 95th and LaSalle Street in Chicago’s notoriously violent South Side. Moments later, one of the passengers took off running. Proano, who had just arrived at the scene, exited his patrol car and approached the car with his gun drawn sideways, according to the civil complaint filed on behalf of the teens. When the car started to move in reverse, Proano began shooting.
The video is the crux of a federal lawsuit filed against Chicago and the three police officers on the teenagers’ behalf. Pending approval from the City Council, it could end with a $360,000 payout for the victims.
While Proano didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Reporter, in a federal filing he admitted he was the officer who opened fire on the vehicle in question.
Proano has been assigned to desk duty but remains otherwise undisciplined and on the force, the Reporter reported. In the past four years, he has been cleared of six complaints against him, one of which included excessive force, according to the Reporter.
“He [Proano] shouldn’t be allowed to be out there with a gun,” Berman told the Reporter. “He has shown callous disregard for human life … You don’t start firing into a car full of unarmed people. You just don’t do that.”