A Chicago police officer who was captured on a dashboard camera firing into a car full of teenagers, wounding two of them, has been indicted on federal civil rights charges, prosecutors and local media said on Friday.
Marco Proano, 41, was charged in the indictment, which was handed down on Thursday, with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law for allegedly using unreasonable force with a dangerous weapon, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said in a written statement.
“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,” Fardon said.
“Our office will continue to independently and vigorously pursue civil rights prosecutions to hold officers accountable and strengthen trust in the police,” he added.
The teens wounded in the shooting were black, according to local media reports.
Watch the video of the shooting which begins at 2:05 in the video below.
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 statement and indictment released by Fardon’s office do not contain details of the incident which lead to the charges, other than saying it took place on Dec. 22, 2013.
But the Chicago Tribune reported that on that date, Proano was captured on videotape firing his weapon at the car as it backed away from him.
The paper reported that the police union defended the shooting at the time by saying the officer was concerned for the safety of a passenger who was being dragged by the vehicle as he tried to get out.
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.
Proano was involved in another controversial shooting in July 2011 when he fatally shot at close range Niko Husband, a 19-year-old black man who officers say was in the possession of a gun, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A jury originally awarded Husband’s family with $3.5 million in damages, however a judge overseeing the case later negated the award after it was revealed that jurors, in response to a written question, had said they believed Proano had feared for his life at the time of the shooting.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Alan Crosby)
The Huffington Post contributed to this report.