After a Chicago police officer wounded two teens in a December 2013 shooting, he told one of them he was lucky to be alive, the teen told a federal jury Wednesday.
“He told me I’m lucky that he ain’t kill me,” the teenager testified, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Jurors heard from the victim on the first full day of testimony in the trial of Officer Marco Proano at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. Proano, a veteran Chicago police officer, is charged with civil rights violations after he fired 16 shots at a stolen Toyota at 95th and LaSalle on Dec. 22, 2013. The car was full of at least six teenagers. Proano fired on it as it reversed with one teen hanging out of a back window.
The trial began this week and prosecutors could rest as soon as Thursday.
Proano’s defense attorney has said his client made a “split second” decision in what he believed to be a neighborhood full of guns, drugs and crime.
When police stopped the car that evening, the driver jumped out, left it in drive and fled on foot. The Toyota then rolled forward and became wedged between a police car and a parked car. Meanwhile, another teen tried to get out and found himself stuck between the Toyota and the police car.
The wounded teen who testified Wednesday told jurors how he then lunged forward from the back seat toward the front of the car. He said he put the car in reverse and “hit the gas” with his hands.
“I was trying to get away from the police,” he said.
Proano had arrived at the scene earlier, as another officer ordered people in the car not to move. The teen said he did not hear those commands. He said he only heard gunshots as the car rolled backward, and he “balled up” to avoid the bullets. The teenager said they skinned his forehead and cheek, and he said he was shot in the shoulder. Another teen was shot in the left hip and right heel, records show.
Later, the teenager said police pulled him out of the Toyota and put him on the ground. That’s when he said Proano told him he was lucky to walk away with his life.