A Chicago police officer who was captured on a dashboard camera in 2013 firing into a car full of teenagers, wounding two of them, has been indicted on federal civil rights charges, prosecutors said on Friday.
Marco Proano, 41, was charged in the two-count indictment, which was handed down on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.
“When a police officer uses unreasonable force, it has a harmful effect on not only the victims, but also the public, who lose faith and confidence in law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said in a written statement.
“Our office will continue to independently and vigorously pursue civil rights prosecutions to hold officers accountable and strengthen trust in the police,” he added.
Proano’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Police shootings and excessive force, especially against young black men, have become a rallying point for the Black Lives Matter movement and led to nationwide demonstrations.
The two-page indictment contains few details of the Dec. 22, 2013, incident that led to the charges against Proano, who faces an arraignment on the charges on Sept. 22. He is free on $10,000 bond.
The videotape, first made public by the Chicago Reporter magazine, shows Proano firing repeatedly at the car full of teens as it backs quickly away from him.
The Fraternal Order of Police has told the Chicago Tribune newspaper that Proano and another police officer stopped the car because they believed it was stolen. The police union said that Proano opened fire out of concern for a passenger who was being dragged by the vehicle.
The city agreed to pay $360,000 to settle a lawsuit brought over the shooting by mothers of three of the teens, according to the paper.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Alan Crosby and Matthew Lewis)
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