The white policeman who fatally shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and a neighbor claims that the incident traumatized him, and he has filed a $10 million lawsuit Friday against the teen’s estate, the Associated Press reports.
In the lawsuit, Officer Robert Rialmo gives his version of the deadly Dec. 26 encounter at a two-family house in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago.
According to Rialmo’s first public account, the college student swung a baseball bat at his head—just missing by inches—before he opened fire. The officer also said he accidentally shot and killed 55-year-old Bettie Jones, a downstairs neighbor, in his confrontation with LeGrier.
“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, according to AP.
Lawyers for the families of LeGrier and Jones have given a different account, which claims that the officer was at least 20 feet from LeGrier when he fired his weapon.
Antonio LeGrier, the teenager’s father, filed a wrongful death lawsuit shortly after the incident. According to him, the shooting was unjustified.
AP interviewed former federal prosecutor Phil Turner, who called Rialmo’s lawsuit unusual and doubted that a judge would take it seriously. Emotional trauma “is a known part” of policing, he added. Turner said it seems as though the officer is trying to intimidate the teenager’s family.
Rialmo’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, said that the lawsuit sends a message that police “suffer damage like anybody else.” He stated that cops are “not targets for assaults” at this volatile time in the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color.
This lawsuit comes against the backdrop of accusations that the city’s Police Department and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have attempted to cover up police shootings of black men.
Read more at the Associated Press.