Cop charged with shooting 2 teens balks at request to give up gun

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This still image is taken from police video of the December 2013 shooting for which Officer Marco Proano now faces a federal trial on charges he violated the civil rights of two teenagers he wounded. | Independent Police Review Authority

A Chicago Police officer charged with violating the civil rights of two teenagers he shot is afraid he will lose his paycheck if he’s forced to give up his gun and state firearm owner’s identification card as federal prosecutors have requested.

Marco Proano, 41, wounded the teens on Dec. 22, 2013 when he fired 16 shots at the stolen car they were riding in, authorities say. The shooting was captured on a police vehicle’s dashboard camera.

At a bond hearing Thursday in federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgia Alexakis asked Judge Gary Feinerman to order Proano to surrender his gun and give up his FOID card as a condition of his bail.

His attorney, Daniel Herbert, warned that the Chicago Police Department would place Proano in a no-pay status if he gave up his FOID card, which the state would revoke.

Currently, Proano is on paid desk duty after the department stripped him of his police powers. He does not take his gun to work at the city’s 311 call center.

Herbert said Proano is married with three children — the eldest in high school.

“It would have a devastating impact on his family,” Herbert said of his client losing his paycheck.

Feinerman delayed a decision on whether to force Proano to give up his FOID card and gun. He asked the parties to see whether the police department could come up with an option for Proano to remove the gun from his home without losing his pay.

Proano was released on his own recognizance on a $10,000 bond.

Chicago Police Officer Marco Proano leaves the Dirksen Federal Building after a hearing in U.S. District Court last year. | Frank Main/Sun-Times

Chicago Police Officer Marco Proano after court on Thursday.

On Aug. 16, the Independent Police Review Authority recommended the police department fire Proano. The department is continuing to review the recommendation. The teenagers who were shot have settled a lawsuit against the city for $360,000.

After court, Herbert defended his client’s actions, saying state law and police policy at the time of the shooting allowed officers to fire at moving vehicles. He said one teen jumped from the back seat of the stolen car and was operating the gas pedal and brake pedal with his hands. Another teen was dangling out of the car.

Herbert said there also was a report that a gun was in the car. Police recovered a pellet gun, he said.

He acknowledged the public might think the shooting was “horrible” after viewing the video. But Proano was justified in using deadly force to stop the reckless driver who was jeopardizing the passenger hanging from the vehicle or could have harmed a citizen in the way of the car, Herbert said.

The policy in place in 2013 said, “Firing at or into a moving vehicle is only authorized to prevent death or great bodily harm.”

The policy changed last year to bar officers from “firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person.”

In 2011, Proano fatally shot a 19-year-old man after he and other officers scuffled with him outside a party on the South Side.

Proano received an award for valor from the department in connection with the shooting and the Independent Police Review Authority found it was justified. A jury awarded the family of the dead man $3.5 million in a lawsuit, but a Cook County judge overturned it.

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