Another cop has evaded repercussions after being involved in the fatal shooting of a black person.
On Wednesday, a jury in Illinois determined that Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo acted “reasonably” when he fatally shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier in December 2015. That shooting also resulted in the death of 55-year-old Bettie Jones, LeGrier’s neighbor, who was an innocent bystander in the shooting.
According to USA Today, the jurors attempted to soften the blow, I suppose, by awarding $1.05 million in damages to LeGrier’s estate following the eight-day civil trial. However, that was nullified by Judge Rena Marie Van Tine, since, you know, that same jury found the shooting justified in order to prevent “imminent death or great bodily harm.”
“I don’t believe that Officer Rialmo is a bad person necessarily,” David Fitzsimon, the jury foreman, told reporters following the verdict. “I think he just made a bad decision at the moment.”
Authorities claimed that during the 2015 incident, LeGrier, who was carrying an aluminum baseball bat, became combative when officers arrived, prompting Rialmo to fire. Jones, who rented a basement apartment from LeGrier’s father, opened the door for police and was shot as she was going back to her apartment inside the multiunit residence.
In December 2017, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, a Chicago oversight board, ruled that the shooting deaths of LeGrier and Jones were both unjustified.
The board underlined that there was no evidence supporting Rialmo’s claims that LeGrier approached officers with a baseball bat in a threatening manner. The ruling detailed evidence that LeGrier did not swing the bat at Rialmo, as the officer had claimed. Other evidence indicated that Rialmo was actually farther away from LeGrier than the officer initially stated.
Earlier this month, the city of Chicago reached a $16 million settlement with Jones’ family, but city attorneys and Rialmo insisted that LeGrier’s shooting was justified. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also said that the shooting was justified.
Because of the differences in rulings, it is now up to the Chicago Police Board to decide whether to fire Rialmo, who remains on paid desk duty and was never criminally charged in either of the two shootings.