Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chicago cop files lawsuit against estate of teen he shot to death

Quintonio LeGrier
A Chicago police officer who fatally shot college student Quintonio LeGrier and his 55-year-old neighbour has filed a lawsuit against the teenager’s estate that blames the 19-year-old for causing the officer “extreme emotional trauma.

Officer Robert Rialmo’s lawsuit was filed Friday and offers the first public account of the moments before Rialmo shot and killed Quintonio LeGrier on Dec. 26.

Chicago Police Robert Rialmo

LeGrier's mother
The suit claims that Rialmo, who was arriving at the scene of a domestic disturbance with another officer, opened fire after the teenager twice swung a bat at the officer’s head and then raised the weapon a third time, leading Rialmo to fear that his life was in danger.

The round that killed LeGrier also killed 55-year-old Bettie Jones, a downstairs neighbour and mother of five who was standing near LeGrier and was not part of the disturbance that had drawn police to the residence. In an apologetic statement the next day, police confirmed that her death was accidental. Rialmo is seeking $10 million in damages

Robert Rialmo

Quintonio LeGrier called 911 three times.
Rialmo’s account differs sharply from claims made by LeGrier’s father, Antonio LeGrier, who has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit. The suit claims that Rialmo was outside the two-story building when he fired his weapon but the teenager was inside. LeGrier’s suit also states that while his son lay on the ground bleeding to death, Rialmo “did not do anything to try to provide medical care.”

Rialmo reasonably believed that if he did not use deadly force against LeGrier, that LeGrier would kill him,” the suit states. “Officer Rialmo drew his handgun from its holster, and starting to fire from holster level, fired eight rounds at LeGrier from his 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun, which holds 18 rounds, in approximately two and a half seconds.”

Bettie Jones
The suit adds that the “fourth round that Officer Rialmo fired passed through LeGrier and struck Bettie Jones, who unbeknownst to Officer Rialmo, was standing in the front doorway to the building . . . behind LeGrier and partially exposed to any gunfire that might pass through LeGrier.”

An autopsy determined that LeGrier suffered six bullet wounds. Jones was killed by a single gunshot wound to her chest. Lawyers for Antonio LeGrier and for Jones argue that evidence shows Rialmo was as far as 20 or 30 feet away when he fired his weapon.

Robert Rialmo
The suit comes at a time when public officials are grappling with questions about how the Chicago Police Department can earn back public trust, which has been eroded by a series of shootings and other incidents involving police misconduct.

Jason Van Dyke
CHICAGO — A white Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of a 17-year-old black man, just hours before city officials appealed for calm as they released a chilling video of the officer shooting the teenager as he lay crumpled on the ground.
Van Dyke shot the teenager 16 times. Van Dyke maintains he feared for his life when he opened fire. Van Dyke was on the scene for less than 30 seconds and was out of his car for about six seconds before he opened fire.

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