American Officer Sues Family For $10m After Killing Their Son

According to BBC news, a white Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old college student and accidentally killed a neighbor has filed a lawsuit against the teenager’s family, arguing that the shooting left him traumatized.

Robert Rialmo is seeking $10 million in damages because he says the shooting of honor engineering student Quintonio LeGrier left him distressed. LeGrier’s family attorney, Basileios Foutris, is however pissed off by the officer after learning of the lawsuit.

“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,’ Mr Foutris said.

Rialmo’s 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.’ Brodsky said that relatives of those fatally shot by the police, such as the LeGrier family, are looking for ways to get paid after the city settled the Laquan McDonald shooting case last year for $5 million.

‘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. 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 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.

LaTonya Jones, the daughter of Bettie Jones, gets comfort from her father Garry Mullen during a vigil to honour Bettie, a 55-year-old mother of 5, on December 27, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

She was not part of the domestic dispute.

‘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,’ the filing says.

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When arriving at the scene around 4.30am on December 26, 2015, 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 4 feet apart.

Lawyers for Mr LeGrier’s father and for Ms Jones say evidence indicates the officer was 20 or 30 feet (six to nine metres) away when he fired.

County prosecutors have asked the FBI to investigate the shooting. The Chicago Police Department has refused to comment.

Such a lawsuit by an officer is extraordinarily unusual, said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor and current defence attorney who is not connected to the case. Speaking to the Associated Press news agency, he questioned whether a judge would give it any merit and said it appeared intended to intimidate Mr LeGrier’s family.

He said he had never heard of an officer blaming his shooting victim for causing trauma.

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“American Officer Sues Family For $10m After Killing Their Son”

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