The verdict is unprecedented. Marco Proano has been convicted in federal court on criminal charges from an on-duty shooting. Proano was convicted of two felony counts of using excessive force, violating the victims’ civil rights. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count. His sentencing is scheduled for November 20, 2017. Proano’s victims survived, and it has taken almost 4 years for this day to arrive.
On December 22, 2013, Proano spotted a stolen car that was filled with teens on Chicago’s Southside. One of the teens exited the vehicle and ran. Another attempted to get out but the door would not open because a cop cruiser had pulled up on the side. Yet another teen in the backseat, reached over to the front driver’s side and with his hands, pressed on the gas.
Proano opened fire, and continued shooting even after the stolen car ran into a light pole and stopped. Two of the teens were wounded.
There is dash cam video, but there was also some controversy to make it public,as reported in the below video by Roland Martin. During a civil case filed by the teens, the court sealed the video. It took a news publication to get the video to make it public. A lawsuit brought by the two wounded teens was settled by the City of Chicago for $360,000.
Proano’s trial began on August 21, 2017 in U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman’s courtroom. On August 28, 2017, the jury deliberated 4 hours and returned the verdict of guilty on both counts. Read the rest of this entry
It’s not what Laquan did or did not do. Rather, it is what the Chicago Police Department did after officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan.
Brandon Smith’s introduction on The Guardian, says that he is a Chicago-based independent journalist who, with the help of whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information Act, has reported on civil rights abuses, privatization of public assets, digital privacy concerns and pollution of land and water.”
“Independent journalist.” I like that title because it reflects a form of journalism that has almost gone the way of the dinosaur. It would be correct to replace “independent” with “investigative” in this matter, because what Brandon Smith did goes beyond reporting. Without the backing of a publication to finance his endeavors, Brandon Smith did not have to proceed at his own costs. Brandon worked along with another independent journalist, Jamie Kalven, and University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman. Because they are independent journalists, they aren’t often issued press credentials to attend press conferences and such. In fact, he was not allowed to attend the press conference that discussed the release of video that came about due to his persistence and good work.
Had they not been independent and determined, we would not have the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Without the release of the video, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke would still be on paid desk duty; and his fictionalized report of what happened would be business as usual in cover-ups.
Kalven filed the Freedom of Information request for the video. The City declined his request. Brandon’s battle for release of the video began in May, 2015. In an article published in The Chicago Reader on August 7, 2015, Brandon wrote:
“But I’m not taking no for an answer—particularly in light of Kalven v. Chicago, an Illinois Appellate Court decision last March that established information about police misconduct is public, except in limited circumstances that don’t apply in the case of the McDonald shooting video.”