Laura Washington: Questions surround video of shooting by cop

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Two teens were wounded in a police-involved shooting on Dec. 22, 2013, near 95th and La Salle after Chicago Police officers stopped a stolen car packed with joyriders. | File photo

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Do we need more gun control — for the police?

That’s one question raised by a disturbing video released this week by The Chicago Reporter.

The dashboard camera on a police squad car records an officer running toward a car on a dark street. The car backs up, the officer raises his pistol and begins shooting at the car, deliberately, repeatedly.The car moves forward, hits a pole, stops.

The car was carrying six teenagers, all unarmed. Two youths were shot, one in the shoulder, the other in the left hip and right heel.

Police later discovered that the teens were driving a stolen car, the Reporter’s investigation found.

OPINION

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It happened on Dec. 22, 2013 near 95th and LaSalle streets on Chicago’s South Side.The teens are African-American. The officer is white.

The video is posted at Chicagoreporter.com. We’ve seen this movie before.

The officer, identified as Marco Proano, has been placed on desk duty, according to the accompanying story by Jonah Newman.

Proano declined to comment.

The case led to a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago and three police officers. It was settled in March; the city agreed to pay $360,000 in damages.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the case. Last month the Chicago Sun-Times reported the FBI also is investigating.

Retired Cook County Court Judge Andrew Berman shared the video with The Chicago Reporter. It was part of the evidence in a case Berman heard in January 2015, his last day as a judge.

It was the most unsettling thing he had seen in his 18 years as a judge and 17 years as a public defender, he said. “My first reaction was, if those are white kids in the car, there’s no way they [would] shoot,” he was quoted as saying. “You don’t start firing into a car full of unarmed people. You just don’t do that.”

Of the 50 victims of police shootings in Chicago last year, 78 percent were black, according to Independent Police Review Authority data.

In the case before Berman, one of the teens was charged with possessing a stolen motor vehicle. The judge found him not guilty.

Chicago Police Department policy, updated in February, prohibits “firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person.”

At the time of the incident, a Chicago Police Department spokesman told reporters that as the car was backing up, one passenger tried to exit. “Concerned with the safety of the passenger being dragged, an officer fired on the car,” the Sun-Times quoted him as saying.

Thank God the teens were not killed. Thank God for technology, which is bringing such incidents to light.

Between 2011 and 2015, Proano was cleared in six previous complaints, one involving excessive force, Newman reported.

Other questions: Why has it taken 18 months to investigate this shooting?

Why did the city settle with the victims while the investigation was still underway?

Why is the FBI involved?

Did Proano have the appropriate training?

I contacted Berman to get his reaction to the Reporter’s story.

He is glad that Proano “is still on desk duty,” he wrote in an email.Still, “this one man should never be allowed to carry a gun in his job as he has shown a reckless and callous disregard for human life.”

Follow Laura Washington on Twitter: @MediaDervish

Email: Lauraswashington@aol.com

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