From [ABC] and [NBC] A Latino Chicago police officer convicted of shooting at a car full of Black teenagers was sentenced to 60 months, or five years, in federal prison Monday afternoon. The trial marked the first time in at least 15 years that a Chicago police officer faced federal criminal charges in connection with an on-duty shooting.
Monday's sentencing for 42-year-old Marco Proano comes three months after he was convicted of using excessive force in violation of the victims' civil rights. Proano claimed he was just doing his job but a federal jury decided that the shooting — captured on a police dashboard camera video — wasn't the action of a cop but a criminal.
Police dashcam video captured the moment Officer Marco Proano fired his service weapon into a car full of teenagers the night of December 22, 2013. Investigators found that he fired 16 shots in all, and a grand jury indicted Proano in 2016 on charges that he violated the civil rights of the teens – whose families already reached a civil settlement with the City of Chicago.
Proano was convicted of two counts of using unreasonable force and causing bodily injury, with each count carrying a maximum sentence of 19 years in prison. A jury of nine men and three women deliberated for over three hours after hearing two days of testimony before reaching their verdict.
Judge Gary Feinerman didn't buy Proano's explanation or lack of remorse. Having watched the dashcam police video several times in slow motion, Feinerman said no one was in danger that night. He called Proano's actions a deliberate, reckless attempt to stop the occupants of the vehicle at the maximum force possible.
Before handing down the five year sentence, Feinerman said Proano may have been dressed like a police officer that night but didn't act like one.
The video — played several times for jurors, including in slow motion — showed Proano walking quickly toward the stolen Toyota within seconds of arriving at the scene while he held his gun pointed sideways in his left hand. Proano can be seen backing away briefly as the car went in reverse, away from the officer. He then raised his gun with both hands and opened fire as he walked toward the car, continuing to fire even after the car had rolled into a light pole and stopped.
"Marco Proano drew first, shot next and then he tried to justify it later," Assistant U.S. Atty. Erika Csicsila said in her closing argument. "He came out of his car like a cowboy. He pulled his gun out, held it to one side and aimed it at those kids to send a message and to show who was in charge."
Several teenagers in a car were stopped by Officers Morlock and Flaherty. The car turned out to be stolen. One of the teens jumped out and began to run, and at least one of the officers began chasing the teen. Officer Proano drove up and jumped out of his squad car with his gun drawn. Seconds later, one of the teenagers put the car in reverse, and Proano fired into the car more than a dozen times. D.B., a minor, was hit once in the shoulder; two other bullets grazed his forehead and cheek. D.H. was shot in his left hip and right heel. [MORE]
Proano's attorney tried to argue he was a scapegoat and a victim of anti-police sentiment following the Laquan McDonald shooting.
"These are difficult times. We recognize the fact that police officers' split-second actions are going to be judged by individuals that have the luxury to look at it through a different lens," said Dan Herbert, defense attorney.
"All that said, this was a case where a police officer knowingly, knowingly violated civil rights of the people who were in that car, on that day," said acting U.S. Attorney Joel Levin.
While prosecutors asked for eight year sentence, they said the five years given is a significant sentence itself. The judge did allow Proano to go home. He will report to federal prison on Jan. 23, 2018. He did not comment as he left the courthouse and showed no emotion when the sentence was handed down.