A police dashboard camera video given to The Chicago Reporter by a retired Cook County judge shows a city police officer firing at least a dozen shots into a car in December 2013 on 95th Street and LaSalle on the South Side.
Six unarmed black teenagers were in the car, and two were wounded. One was shot in the shoulder, and a bullet grazed his head, and the other was shot in the left hip and right heel. Police later learned the teens were driving a stolen car.
The judge, Andrew Berman, gave the video to The Chicago Reporter because he found the police conduct “disturbing.” Berman had the video because the criminal case of one teen came before his court.
“You don’t start firing into a car full of unarmed people,” Berman told Jonah Newman, writing for The Reporter. “You just don’t do that.”
The video contradicts public statements made by the police union and the police department at the time.
DNAInfo Chicago reports that Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden told reporters the officer fired because the car was “coming at the officers.” Marco Proano fired the shots in apparent violation of police department policy. The police department also said a gun was recovered from the vehicle, but subsequent documents show that the teens were not armed.
This isn’t the first time Proano has been accused of using excessive force, but it is the only complaint against him in the past four years that involved a shooting, according to CPD and court records. Proano was cleared in six previous complaints filed against him between 2011 and 2015, one of which involved excessive force.
The video is at the center of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the teens against the city and three police officers, which was settled in March. The City Council still must approve the $360,000 payout, which is expected in coming weeks. While it is a relatively small sum compared to some settlements to people who were killed by Chicago police officers, it is still more money than almost 90 percent of police misconduct payments by the city last year.