In Chicago, it’s not enough to kill a black teen. After a Chicago police officer took the life of Quintonio LeGrier, 19, nearly two years ago, the city’s attorneys are now looking to sue his family. Their claim? That LeGrier was responsible for the death of an innocent bystander whom the cop also killed.
As the Chicago Tribune reports, the city’s proposed lawsuit blames LeGrier for the death of bystander Bettie Jones, blaming him for “negligent acts and/or omissions.” Those include failing to follow police commands, advancing on officers, swinging a baseball bat at police and failing “to take prescribed medication to control his mental illness.”
It’s a rare and exceptionally heinous step for a city to take, and one clearly aimed at shifting blame for Jones’ death to LeGrier.
As if that weren’t enough, this is actually the second lawsuit filed against the LeGrier family following the 2015 shooting. The officer who killed LeGrier, Robert Rialmo, filed suits in 2016 against both the Chicago Police Department (he claims he wasn’t trained adequately) and LeGrier’s estate. Rialmo blames the teen for the shooting and says he has suffered emotional trauma.
Let’s play that back one more time.
The cop who killed a teen is suing that teen’s “estate” (though the family has no assets) because the cop suffered emotionally after killing the boy.
Both Jones’ and LeGrier’s survivors have filed suits against the city for the death of their loved ones.
LeGrier and Jones were shot in the early-morning hours the day after Christmas in 2015. Rialmo and another officer responded to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance in the city’s West Side. LeGrier was staying there with his father, Antonio, who called 911 saying that his son was threatening him and banging on his bedroom door with a baseball bat. Later, NBC Chicago revealed that LeGrier had called 911 three times before his father called.
LeGrier, a student at Northern Illinois University at the time, reportedly had mental health issues.
Jones, LeGrier’s downstairs neighbor, answered the door and directed Rialmo and his partner to the second-floor apartment where LeGrier lived.
From the Chicago Tribune:
LeGrier then came down the stairs with a baseball bat, according to an analysis released in February by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, which declined to bring charges against Rialmo in the incident.
The police started to back up onto the front landing as the teen came toward them with the bat raised over his head, prosecutors wrote. As Rialmo backed down the stairs, he fired, according to prosecutors. He shot eight times, hitting LeGrier six times. Jones had been standing behind him and was shot once in the chest, prosecutors wrote.
Rialmo recently stipulated in court that he knew Jones was standing close by when he fired, though [his attorney] said the officer was nonetheless justified in firing in self-defense. Rialmo has said he feared for his life after LeGrier swung the bat at him.
According to the Tribune, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates Chicago Police Department shootings, has yet to decide whether LeGrier’s shooting was justified under CPD policy.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.