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Indicted Chicago cop agrees to give up his gun

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 has agreed to give up his gun and state firearm owner’s ID card while facing federal charges alleging he violated two teenagers’ civil rights.

Marco Proano, 41, shot the teens on Dec. 22, 2013. 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.

Proano pleaded not guilty last week, and defense attorney Daniel Herbert had warned that the Chicago Police Department might put Proano in a no-pay status if he gave up his FOID card. However, Herbert told the judge on Monday that CPD “decision makers” have told him the move would not affect Proano’s employment.

On Monday morning, a police spokesman said the department had not received notification from the court that Proano turned in his FOID card.

“When they do, he will move to a no-pay status,” said the spokesman, Frank Giancamilli.

As of last week, Proano was on paid desk duty, having been stripped of his police powers.

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 leaves the Dirksen Federal Building after a hearing in U.S. District Court on Sept. 22. | Frank Main/Sun-Times

The Independent Police Review Authority recommended on Aug. 16 that CPD fire Proano. The teenagers who were shot have settled a lawsuit against the city for $360,000.

A source said the department is expected to move to fire Proano this week.

Herbert has 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 that 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.