Chicago policeman sues family of teenager he shot

Chicago policeman sues family of teenager he shot

A white Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old college student and accidentally killed a neighbour has filed a lawsuit against the teenager's estate, arguing the shooting left him traumatized.


The highly unusual suit was filed on Friday in the middle of the city's effort to grapple with serious questions about the future of its police force. Those questions include the adequacy of its system for investigating police shootings and how to win back public trust after several cases of alleged misconduct.

The US justice department is conducting a wide-ranging civil rights investigation, and mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised a major overhaul of the police department and steps to heal its fraught relationship with black residents.

The timing and unusual nature of the suit by officer Robert Rialmo, who is seeking $10 million in damages, could complicate the department's efforts to demonstrate more sensitivity toward the community in how police shootings are handled. His attorney, Joel Brodsky, said it was important in the charged atmosphere to send a message that police are "not targets for assaults" and "suffer damage like anybody else".

The teen's father, Antonio LeGrier, filed a wrongful death lawsuit days after the December 26 shooting, saying his son, Quintonio, was not armed with a weapon and was not a threat. His attorney, Basileios Foutris, was incredulous at what he called the officer's "temerity" in suing the grieving family of the person he shot.

"That's a new low even for the Chicago police department," he said. "First you shoot them, then you sue them."

The lawsuit provides the officer's first public account of how he says the shooting happened, offering details that differ with the family's version. It says Rialmo, who was responding to a domestic disturbance call with another officer, opened fire after Quintonio LeGrier swung a bat at the officer's head at close range. A downstairs neighbor, 55-year-old Bettie Jones, was standing nearby and was shot and killed by accident. She was not part of the domestic dispute.

"The fact that LeGrier's actions had forced Officer Rialmo to end LeGrier's life and to accidentally take the innocent life of Bettie Jones has caused, and will continue to cause, Officer Rialmo to suffer extreme emotional trauma," the filing says.

When arriving at the scene around 4.30am on December 26, Rialmo rang the doorbell of the two-story apartment building. Jones answered and directed them to the upstairs apartment. As Rialmo stepped through the doorway, he heard someone "charging down the stairway," the suit says.

It describes the teen coming down the stairs with a baseball bat in hand and says LeGrier "cocked" the bat "and took a full swing at Officer Rialmo's head, missing it by inches" when the two were around four feet (1.2 meters) apart.

The officer then backed away with his weapon still holstered, according to the suit, while repeatedly shouting at LeGrier to drop the bat.

But the suit says LeGrier kept advancing and swung the bat again. Only when LeGrier cocked the bat again from three or four feet away, did the officer pull out his 9 mm handgun and open fire, the filing says.

As he began firing, Rialmo did not see or hear Jones behind LeGrier, the suit says. It says one of the bullets went through LeGrier's body and struck Jones, killing her.

An autopsy determined that LeGrier suffered six bullet wounds.

Lawyers for Antonio LeGrier and for Jones have provided accounts that differ from Rialmo's. They say the evidence indicates the officer was 20 or 30 feet (six to nine metres) away when he fired, calling into question Rialmo's contention that he feared for his life.

Foutris also questions why the teen would attack the officer since he was the one who called police. The father of the Northern Illinois University student also made an emergency call to police.

"If you're calling multiple times for help are you going to charge a police officer and try to hit him with a bat? That's ridiculous," Foutris said.County prosecutors have asked the FBI to investigate the shooting.A police department spokesman refused to comment on the officer's lawsuit.Such a lawsuit by an officer is extraordinarily unusual, said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor and current defense attorney who is not connected to the case.He questioned whether a judge would give it any merit and said it appeared intended to intimidate LeGrier's family. He said he had never heard of an officer blaming his shooting victim for causing trauma."That is a known part of the job," Turner said of policing's emotional toll. 

 




Syria co-operation vow

Syria co-operation vow

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Moscow yesterday vowed to co-ordinate their actions more closely in Syria.  “Co-operation between Russia and Turkey is a touchstone for Syrian peace and stability,” Erdogan s

Nadal relentlessly marches on

Nadal relentlessly marches on

Rafael Nadal continued his relentless march towards an 18th major title yesterday as an emotional Petra Kvitova swept into her first Grand Slam semi-final since a terrifying knife attack almost ended her career. On day nine of the Aust

BIC set to host Neon Run

BIC set to host Neon Run

Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) is set to host on Friday the much-anticipated BIC Neon Run, held as part of the promotional campaign for the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019. The event is scheduled to be held from 3pm to

Alaina, Hopkins end engagement

Alaina, Hopkins end engagement

Singer Lauren Alaina and partner Alex Hopkins have called it quits. The country star and her beau, who got engaged over last summer, announced they were ending their six-year relationship on their respective Instagram accounts on Monda

Misbah-ul-Haq to visit school

Misbah-ul-Haq to visit school

Misbah-ul-Haq,former Pakistani cricketer who captained the Pakistani team in all three formats of the game, is visiting the British School of Bahrain(BSB) on Thursday. He will hold cricket sessions with students at 8.15am which will be

The Indiana Jones of art

The Indiana Jones of art

A Dutch art detective has returned two priceless stone reliefs stolen from an ancient Spanish church after tracing them to an English nobleman’s garden where they were displayed as ornaments. Arthur Brand, dubbed the “India


Citizens' needs top governorate priority list

Citizens' needs top governorate priority list

Southern Governor HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali Al Khalifa, received citizens, academics, intellectuals and private sector representatives on Wednesday at the governorate's weekly Majlis.   The governor hailed the directives of HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the government

Appeals Court to hear fake prescription case

Appeals Court to hear fake prescription case

An appeals court will hear the case of a Bahraini accused of forging a medical prescription to obtain Morphine from a pharma shop. He was sentenced to one year in jail after being found guilty in the case. According to Public Prosecutors, the man went to Jidhafs Medical Centre on

20 delegates from Bahrain attend PBD

20 delegates from Bahrain attend PBD

More than 20 delegates represented the Kingdom’s Indian Community at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas that was held at the Indian City of Benares. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated to strengthen the engagement of the overseas Indian community with the Government of India and re

‘House, SCW co-operation vital’

‘House, SCW co-operation vital’

HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of HM the King, President of the Supreme Council for Women (SCW), yesterday received Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Fawzia Zainal, Chairman of the Shura Council, Ali Al Saleh, deputies, heads of committees and a number of members of t

Social worker dies in Chennai

Social worker dies in Chennai

Long-time Bahrain resident and Indian social worker T P Abdulla, 71, passed away in Chennai, India yesterday. He was working with Bahrain Disabled Sports Federation as programme co-ordinator. Funeral will take place in Chennai today. He is survived by his wife Fatima and four chil

Busaiteen pays tribute to HRH Premier

Busaiteen pays tribute to HRH Premier

A ceremony was held in Busaiteen, Muharraq, in tribute to His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who recovered after undergoing successful medical check-ups. Traditional Ardha shows, folkloric songs and other activities were staged at the celebration, in t

Syria co-operation vow

Syria co-operation vow

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Moscow yesterday vowed to co-ordinate their actions more closely in Syria.  “Co-operation between Russia and Turkey is a touchstone for Syrian peace and stability,” Erdogan s

Salaries ready for VRS first batch candidates

Salaries ready for VRS first batch candidates

The President of the Civil Service Bureau (CSB), Ahmed Al Zayed, yesterday announced that the CSB will efficiently transfer the salaries of the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS)’s 773 successful candidates who are transitioning to retirement on January 31. Mr Al Zayed went on noting

Nadal relentlessly marches on

Nadal relentlessly marches on

Rafael Nadal continued his relentless march towards an 18th major title yesterday as an emotional Petra Kvitova swept into her first Grand Slam semi-final since a terrifying knife attack almost ended her career. On day nine of the Aust

BIC set to host Neon Run

BIC set to host Neon Run

Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) is set to host on Friday the much-anticipated BIC Neon Run, held as part of the promotional campaign for the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019. The event is scheduled to be held from 3pm to