Officer Fatally Shoots Teen, Then Sues His Surviving Family For 'Emotional Distress'

| by Nik Bonopartis
A Chicago Police Department patrol vehicleA Chicago Police Department patrol vehicle

On Dec. 26, Chicago police officer Robert Rialmo shot and killed 18-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones while both victims were standing in the doorway of the home their families shared.

Now, Rialmo's attorney says his client is suing Quintonio's family for the "emotional distress" the officer suffered after shooting the teenager seven times and accidentally killing Jones. Joel Brodsky, the police officer's lawyer, confirmed to Chicago's WGNTV that he expects to officially file the lawsuit within the next few weeks (as of Jan. 30).

Quintonio's mother, Janet Cooksey, was at a loss for words when TV reporters asked her about the lawsuit. She sighed, shook her head, and took a few moments before answering their questions.

“You took my best friend and my only son, and you say you gonna sue?” Cooksey said of Rialmo, according to Chicago Tribune.

Cooksey was incensed when told Rialmo would sue for emotional distress.

"My son will never give me any grandchildren and he talk about his stress?” Cooksey said. “I had a promising honor student who always talked about all the great things he was going to do and he [the officer] talks about his stress? Where does the disrespect stop?”

Rialmo hasn't spoken to the media, and Chicago police have not publicly identified the officer, but his identity as the shooter was confirmed to the Chicago Tribune by several unnamed law enforcement sources. Rialmo was identified as a former Marine who had been a police officer for only three years.

Chicago police have not been forthcoming with information about the shooting, according to local media and Larry Rogers, Jr., the attorney for Jones's family. Rogers said he's still waiting for police to release all the dash camera footage from the shooting, as well as transcripts of police communications and text messages between Rialmo and his partner the night of the shooting.

What is known is that Quintonio had been arguing with his father, Antonio LeGrier, at about 4 a.m. and hammered on Antonio's closed bedroom door with a baseball bat, according to Chicago Tribune. Quintonio called 911 three times to ask for police assistance, but impatient dispatchers hung up on him when he wouldn't go into detail about why he needed a police response.

When Antonio called 911, police finally responded. While the official police version of events says Quintonio was "combative" and swung the baseball bat at Rialmo, the family said Rialmo was more than 20 feet from the front door of the house when he shot Quintonio and Bettie Jones, who were standing in the doorway.

The shooting was the latest to rile community activists and increase already-fraught tensions between police and the people they've sworn to protect. The city was already under pressure from protesters after another police officer shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, hitting the teenager with 16 bullets despite the fact that he was turned away from officers and walking away from them at the time.

Antonio told CNN he regrets making the 911 call on the morning of Dec. 26, saying he never expected the situation would end with police shooting his son, an engineering student at Northern Illinois University.

"I need the nation to know, Antonio LeGrier, father of Quintonio LeGrier, raised a good son that went to school and provided good grades and had a beautiful future in front of him that was snuffed out by inexperienced officers," he said. "That is obviously running rampant throughout the United States."

Sources: WGNTV, CNN, Chicago Tribune / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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