Police Involved Shootings

Chicago Cop Receives 5 Years Federal Time, for Wounding 2 Teens

(Chicago Tribune) The first time Chicago police Officer Marco Proano shot someone, he was given a department commendation.

Less than a year later, when Proano fatally shot a teen outside an overcrowded dance party, he was rewarded with the superintendent’s award for valor.

But Proano’s third on-duty shooting in a three-year span earned him a much more dubious distinction on Monday: Five years in prison.

Proano, 42, who was convicted of excessive force for firing 16 times into a moving vehicle filled with teens in December 2013, became the first Chicago police officer in decades, if not ever, to be sentenced to federal prison for an on-duty shooting.

In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said that Proano’s actions that night — caught on police dashboard camera video — were “exceptionally unjustified” and an insult to hardworking officers who serve and protect. Two of the teens were wounded, but all five in the vehicle were lucky they weren’t killed, the judge said.

“Mr. Proano was not maintaining the ‘thin blue line’ that separates us from anarchy, and chaos and violence,” Feinerman said. “He was bringing the chaos and violence. He was the source of it.”

Proano’s case became a public flashpoint amid the Laquan McDonald shooting scandal in 2015 after a Cook County judge released to the Chicago Reporter the shocking dashcam video of Proano aiming his gun sideways and firing as the Toyota containing the teens backed away from him.

Adding to the controversy was Proano’s attempt to justify the shooting by claiming he was trying to protect one of the teens who was hanging out of the car’s passenger window as it backed away. At trial, prosecutors showed jurors how the Toyota was sprayed haphazardly with bullets, including one that struck just inches from the teen Proano was supposedly defending.

After the incident, the Police Department changed its policy on the use of deadly force to prohibit officers from shooting at or into a moving vehicle when it “is the only force used” against the officer or another person.

As he argued at trial, Proano’s attorney, Daniel Herbert, said Monday that Proano did exactly as he was trained to stop a deadly threat. In asking for probation, Herbert also said Proano had been made a scapegoat in the wake of the McDonald video and ensuing U.S. Department of Justice probe that found Chicago officers routinely violated the constitutional rights of citizens.

Herbert said Proano was “extremely remorseful” for his actions but hinted that his client did not wish to address the court before he was sentenced. Proano, however, had an apparent change of heart, telling the judge he was trying “to protect human life” that night and still feels strongly he did nothing wrong.

“The night in question I didn’t go out there hunting for somebody or trying to kill somebody,” said Proano, speaking quickly and occasionally stumbling over his words. “I had a minimal amount of time to put it all together — a matter of seconds.”

Proano said he initially was “baffled” over being charged, asking himself, “Why am I even here?” He said he believes the anti-police “climate” contributed to the decision to charge him.

In his remarks, Feinerman said he found Proano’s lack of acceptance that he committed a crime “troubling.”

“This was not a close call,” the judge said. “Mr Proano engaged in criminal armed violence.”

Proano showed no reaction to the sentence when it was handed down, leaving the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse without comment.

After the hearing, Herbert said he planned to appeal the verdict and sentence, calling his client a good man who had “no malice in his heart.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Joel Levin said it was “nonsense” to argue that Proano was charged because of an anti-police climate.

“This case is not about Officer Proano being a scapegoat at all,” Levin told reporters in the courthouse lobby . “In this case, Officer Proano was investigated for the conduct that he committed. … It was about him. It was about conduct that he committed. And ultimately today he was sentenced for his crimes, no one else’s crimes.”

Proano, an 11-year department veteran, has been relieved of his police powers since he was charged and will soon be off the force entirely because of his felony conviction, Herbert said. He must report to prison by Jan. 23.

Proano’s weeklong trial in August focused on the dashcam video of the shooting that unfolded at 95th and LaSalle streets on Dec. 22, 2013, after Proano responded to a call of a stolen vehicle being pursued by police.

The video, played several times for jurors, showed Proano walking quickly toward the stolen Toyota within seconds of arriving at the scene while he held his gun pointed sideways in his left hand. Proano can be seen backing away briefly as the car went in reverse, away from the officer. He then raised his gun with both hands and opened fire as he walked toward the car, continuing to fire even after the car had rolled into a light pole and stopped.

In all, Proano unloaded all 16 bullets in his gun in just under nine seconds. Prosecutors argued his actions violated all the training he received at the police academy, including to never fire into a crowd, only fire if you can clearly see your target and stop shooting once the threat has been eliminated.

In a recent court filing, prosecutors said Proano has shown no remorse for his actions. In fact, the officer told court officials in a pre-sentence interview that he sees himself as the victim, saying he felt “a sense of ‘betrayal’ ” because he’d served the community for many years and “is now ‘left out in the cold,’ ” prosecutors wrote.

In his arguments Monday, Herbert, who also represents Officer Jason Van Dyke on murder charges in the Laquan McDonald shooting, said Proano’s indictment for the shooting has “resonated throughout the Chicago Police Department” and sent a “loud and clear” message to police rank-and-file that their actions are being scrutinized like never before.

Herbert also hinted that Proano’s case has had a chilling effect on other officers who aren’t policing as aggressively as before for fear of being slapped with charges.

In rebuttal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgia Alexakis said it was “offensive to say, “Give (Proano) a light sentence because otherwise police officers might not do their jobs.’”
Records show the 2013 incident was Proano’s third on-duty shooting in three years. In 2010, he was one of five officers who opened fire on a car after a chase and crash in the 700 block of West 91st Street. The driver — 32-year-old Garfield King, a convicted felon — was killed, according to a database of police-involved shootings compiled by the Chicago Tribune. Proano, meanwhile, fired five rounds into the vehicle, wounding a 19-year old woman riding in the passenger seat of King’s car.

Less than a year later, in July 2011, Proano fatally shot 19-year-old Niko Husband at close range during a struggle as police tried to break up an unruly dance party on the South Side. Proano said Husband had tried to pull a gun.

Proano was cleared in both shootings by the now-defunct Independent Police Review Authority, records show. For Husband’s shooting, he was also given a superintendent’s award of valor — bestowed for acts of “outstanding bravery or heroism,” Herbert said.

A Cook County jury later ruled the shooting of Husband was unjustified and awarded his mother $3.5 million in damages. But the judge overseeing the case set aside the jury’s verdict, a ruling that’s being appealed.

Article Org: chicagotribune.com

Man Charged with Firing Shots at Chicago Cops in Montclare

(WGN) A 33-year-old man has been charged with firing shots at police officers during a car chase on Sunday morning in Chicago’s Montclare neighborhood. Arthuro Martinez is now being held in Cook County Jail on $250,000 bond. Just before midnight Sunday, police say they saw Martinez driving recklessly in a silver Toyota near Grand and…

Virginia Gunman DEAD

A gunman has died after opening fire earlier this morning on members of Congress practicing for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, injuring Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, the House majority whip, and four others. Police said the suspect fired at officers, who returned fire. The suspect has since died, President Donald Trump said in…

Murder Suspect Killed in Shootout with Lyons Police

Authorities fatally shot a man who fired at them on Friday afternoon in west suburban Lyons, hours after the man had killed his estranged wife in Sycamore, according to police. Lidia Juarez had an order of protection against her 44-year-old husband Antonio Juarez, according to a statement from Sycamore police. The 37-year-old woman was found…

Aurora Cops Shoot Suspect, after being Fired Upon

A person was shot by Aurora police officers in the 900 block of Superior Street. According to police, multiple officers were fired upon before returning gunfire. None of the officers were struck, but one of the suspects was shot in the leg and was taken to a hospital. Police say several suspects were taken into…

Off Duty Cook County Sheriff Shoots, Kills Armed Robber

WGN 9, A off-duty sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an armed suspect during a robbery attempt in the Englewood neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, according to statements from law enforcement agencies. Police say two suspects walked into Marquita’s Hair Salon at 132 West 69th street with the intention of trying to rob the business and the people inside.…

Marengo Police Officer Shoots Armed Juvenile

An armed juvenile was shot by a police officer Saturday night in northwest suburban Marengo, police said. Officers were called about 11:05 p.m. to a report of “some suspicious activity” in the 800 block of East Prairie Street, according to a statement from Marengo police. When they arrived at the scene, the officers were “confronted”…

Geneva Hostage Taker Shot, Killed by SWAT

A 21-year-old Chicago man, who held a two nurses hostage over the course of about three hours at a Geneva hospital, was fatally shot Saturday afternoon as SWAT teams moved in on him, authorities said. Delnor-Community Hospital was on lockdown Saturday afternoon after Tywon Salters, an inmate in the custody of the Kane County Jail,…

Markham Police Officer Shoots Man after being Dragged by Car

A Markham police officer helping with a traffic stop shot a motorist who attempted to flee and “dragged” the officer, authorities said early Friday morning. The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force is investigating the incident, which took place at 167th Street and Western Avenue, Markham Police Chief Mack Sanders said in an emailed…

Two Chicago Police Officers Shot in The Back of the Yards, Manhunt Underway

MAGGIO NEWS VIDEO, Two on-duty Chicago Police officers were shot in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Tuesday night on the city’s South Side. One officer was shot in the back and the other was shot in the arm and hip, police said.

Speaking to reporters outside Stroger Hospital, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the officers were sitting in a car when two other vehicles pulled up and their occupants opened fire at the officers. Those officers were able to return fire, but it doesn’t appear they hit anyone.

Johnson said police are taking to three people of interest in the shooting investigation.

“It’s just another example of how dangerous this job is,” said Johnson. “And I think people take it for granted that when police officers come to work every day, they put their lives on the line every single day they get in their car.”

One officer was shot in the back and the other was shot in the arm and hip, during “an encounter,’’ according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. They were in serious, but stable condition, according to Guglielmi.

Both Deering District tactical team officers were taken to Stroger Hospital, where their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening, police said.
A “manhunt’’ is underway, Guglielmi said.

“We should not be here at 11 o’clock at night thanking the Lord above that these officers survived,” said Ald. Raymond Lopez, whose 15th Ward covers Back of the Yards. “It is incomprehensible that this continues in our city, in our state, in our country.”

Johnson said police have recovered “multiple weapons that may have been involved” in the shooting. He said the officers were “conducting a follow-up investigation to a previous incident” when they were shot.

“Listen, if they will fire at police officers like that, they they have no thought process in terms of firing at other citizens of this great city,” Johnson said of the suspects. “So, we are going to get them.”

The attack occurred after the officers saw someone inside a silver van shooting at another vehicle, according to preliminary information from police.

A vehicle believed to have been used by the offenders was found near 37th street and Racine Avenue and either a rifle or shotgun was also recovered near the scene, according to a source citing preliminary information.

In February, the Chicago Tribune in a front-page article highlighted the gun violence in this part of the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The newspaper reported that more than 30 shootings believed to have been tied to semi-automatic rifles occurred there and in neighboring Brighton Park during a recent nine-month period.

At least 46 people were shot in those attacks, 13 fatally.

Police said at the time this was the only area of the city where rifles styled after AR-15s and AK-47s were regularly used, a menacing new development in the gang fights.

It’s unclear how many of the high-powered rifles were used in the shootings, but police suspected they were being passed around by members of four Hispanic gangs in the Deering police district, which covers Back of the Yards and Brighton Park.

Two of the gangs — La Raza near 47th and Loomis streets and the Almighty Saints near 45th and Wood streets — have been fighting for decades. But the conflict has expanded to the Satan Disciples and Gangster Two-Sixes in neighboring Brighton Park, where violence is less frequent.

Multiple Chicago police vehicles sped to 43rd Street and Ashland Avenue after the shooting.

As an ambulance was seen leaving the scene, a number of officers directed traffic several blocks away from the center of the investigation, due east of an archway that read “Stockyard Industrial Park,” where a fire truck and another Chicago Fire Department vehicle were parked.

As police officers cordoned off the crime scene with a large line of yellow tape spanning a block’s length and a smaller red ribbon in a strip mall parking lot, passersby like Thomas Murdock gawked from a distance.

Murdock, 51, of Little Village, was enjoying a coffee when he heard the gunfire nearby and saw paramedics tending to two officers, at least one of whom was on a stretcher.

“It was like whack-whack-whack. Big guns. Next thing I know I find out police got shot,” Murdock said. “The Dunkin’ Donuts lady was like ‘What the (expletive) are they shooting for?’ My mind was like: ‘Holy s— ! I hope they don’t run in.’’’

Minutes later, a fast-moving procession of police vehicles activated their lights and sirens and drove southbound.

At least 11 evidence markers were on 43rd Street just north of the strip mall in the industrial area.

As of about 10:30 p.m. Mayor Rahm Emanuel could be seen briefly outside Stroger Hospital.

In a statement, police said their investigation remains “open and ongoing,” and asked that anyone with information should contact Cook County Crime Stoppers, 1-800-535-STOP (7867). Information may also be emailed to CPDTIP.com.

Article Org: chicagotribune.com

Family of Bipolar Woman Shot by Chicago Police Files Lawsuit

Before a Chicago Police officer fatally shot Michele Robey near Irving Park and Western on Feb. 10, a stun gun was used in an effort to subdue the woman, who authorities said was threatening officers and employees of a CVS.

After the stun gun proved ineffective, Robey was shot in the abdomen in the middle of Western Avenue.

Records show that the amount of clothing worn by the 55-year-old Robey prevented the stun gun’s probes from reaching her flesh.

In her autopsy report, the Cook County medical examiner’s office concluded: “A Taser was deployed, however due to the amount of clothing worn by the subject, the Taser was ineffective.”

Robey was wearing seven sweaters, a jacket, five shirts, four pairs of black leggings and a pair of jeans, among other articles of clothing, when she was shot, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Police said at the time that the stun gun was used twice to no effect, and Robey, who lived on the Northwest Side, was shot after lunging at officers.

Darryl Dixon, a witness to the shooting, told the Chicago Sun-Times then that he saw “Taser wires hanging off the back of her jacket.”

The medical examiner’s office noted that “Two gray probes were recovered on the black hooded zip up jacket and the black sweater.”

In accordance with its self-imposed policy, the Independent Police Review Authority released records from Robey’s shooting on Tuesday, 60 days after the shooting. The records released included surveillance video and recordings of 911 calls.

“I have a customer that’s in the back screaming and causing a scene, swearing at customers,” a CVS pharmacy employee says in a 911 recording. “She just threw a can of nuts at me.

“She has a knife. She’s knocking stuff off shelves,” the employee says over yells in the background. A customer called 911 as well.

Store surveillance video shows that an employee set up two carts in front of the entrance to the store, apparently in an attempt to keep the person inside until police arrive. A person in a black jacket walks up holding an object, and tussled with the employee before getting out the door.

Police arrived after Robey had exited the CVS, and surveillance video shows the two officers and Robey walking through traffic before the shooting.

After her death, members of Robey’s family said she battled bipolar schizoaffective disorder.

Last month, Robey’s family filed a five-count lawsuit against the officers at the scene, alleging excessive force, battery and wrongful death, according to court documents. The suit also seeks damages under the survival act and family expense act.

Michael Oppenheimer, one of the attorneys representing Robey’s family, said officers lack proper training in dealing with mentally ill people.

“There’s got to be some step between the Taser and shooting her in the stomach,” Oppenheimer said. “The CPD is not trained, and they’ve never been trained, in how to deal with mentally ill people and that’s a problem.”

Oppenheimer also disputed the claim that Robey lunged at police.

The only two officers on the scene that night were in Robey’s immediate proximity for less than five minutes before she was shot, records show.

Chicago Police spokesman Frank Giancamilli said in an email Thursday that, because the initial call to police did not mention someone with mental health problems, the officers dispatched to the scene did not have Crisis Intervention Training.

The type of knife Robey was wielding the night she was shot has not been disclosed. Surveillance video does not clearly show it and one of the 911 callers speculated it was a butter knife.

Video shot at the scene that night by ABC7 appears to show a steak knife laying in the street.

Citing the ongoing IPRA investigation, Giancamilli declined to offer specifics on the knife. Oppenheimer said he wasn’t aware of what type of knife it was other than it being “something you find in the kitchen.”

Article Org: Chicago.suntimes.com