Federal prosecutors want to keep the Department of Justice’s report on the Chicago Police Department out of the trial of an officer who shot two teenagers inside a car on the South Side in 2013.
The report, which found that CPD officers engaged in a pattern of excessive force largely due to poor training, “would mislead the jury, and would confuse the pertinent issues” in Officer Marco Proano’s trial, prosecutors said in a motion filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
They claim Proano’s attorney, Daniel Herbert, could use the report to distract jury members from Proano’s “alleged misconduct in an individual instance” by “creating ‘the potential of a mini-trial concerning the DOJ’s findings’ with respect to CPD as an institution,” according to the motion.
Prosecutors still expect a sergeant who was interviewed for the DOJ report to testify about the use-of-force training that Proano received, but they don’t want him to mention the report.
Proano, a nine-year veteran officer, was indicted last year and charged with violating the teens’ civil rights for firing 16 shots into a stolen car during a traffic stop on Dec. 22, 2013, at 95th Street and LaSalle. The shooting was captured on a police vehicle’s dashboard camera.
The wounded teens settled a lawsuit against the city for $360,000. Proano was recommended for firing last summer by the Independent Police Review Authority, though a former FBI agent who reviewed the case said last week that the agency considered clearing him.
Proano, stripped of police powers and placed on desk duty, earned more than $80,000 in 2016, before he was moved to a no-pay status last September, according to city payroll data.
At the time of the shooting, the police department said in a statement that officers curbed a car packed with joyriders. Herbert, who is also representing Jason Van Dyke, has said one of the teens jumped from the back seat of the car and was operating the gas and brake pedals with his hands while another teen was dangling out of the car.
Herbert has said Proano was justified in using deadly force to stop the reckless driver who was jeopardizing the passenger hanging from the vehicle.
The case is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 21.