Creating fissure is a lawsuit brought forward by white Chicago police officer, Robert Rialmo, alleging that the shooting death of an honors college student (at his hands) along with that of an innocent neighbor has left him traumatized.
In his $10 million suit, Rialmo claims that the shooting death of 19 year old honor engineering student Quintonio LeGrier and 55 year old neighbor Bette Jones left him ‘distressed.’
Ironically the suit comes just over a month after the dead teen’s father, Antonio LeGrier, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, days after the Dec 26, 2015 shooting which took his son’s life.
In his suit the father claimed his son was not armed with a weapon when police arrived and was never a threat.
News of Chicago police officer Robert Rialmo’s suit against the teen’s estate, has led to family lawyer Basileios Foutris expressing indignation and disbelief.
Told the family lawyer via the Chicago Tribune: ‘After this coward shot a teenager in the back … he has the temerity to sue him?
‘That’s a new low for the Chicago Police Department.’
But that’s not the way Robert Rialmo’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky sees things, with the attorney telling that it was ‘important in the charged atmosphere of litigation to send a message that police are not targets for assaults and suffer damage like anybody else.’
Brodsky went on to tell that so pervasive has the nature of litigation become that the victims of police shootings are increasingly using the shooting deaths as a kind of lottery winning, pointing out to a recent payoff which saw the family of shooting victim, Laquan McDonald offered a $5 million settlement.
‘Ever since the McDonald payoff, people are treating officer-involved confrontations like a lottery ticket and they’re waiting to cash it in,’ Brodsky said.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) February 6, 2016
Rialmo’s lawsuit provides the officer’s first public account of how he says the shooting happened, offering details that differ with the family’s version.
According to Rialmo, the cop was responding to a domestic disturbance call with another officer, when he opened fire after Quintonio swung a bat at the officer’s head at close range.
The incident in the early morning hours of December 26, 2015 led to downstairs neighbor, 55-year-old Bettie Jones, who had been standing nearby, being fatally shot by accident.
Alleges the suit: ‘The fact that Quintonio’s actions had forced officer Rialmo to end Quintonio’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.’
An autopsy determined that Quintoniosuffered six bullet wounds.
The suit filed on Friday comes as authorities grapple with the question of the adequacy of its system for investigating police shootings and how to win back public trust after several cases of alleged misconduct.
The U.S. 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.
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 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 911.
Offered the lawyer: ‘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.’
County prosecutors have asked the FBI to investigate the shooting.
A Police Department spokesman refused to comment on the officer’s lawsuit.