Robert Rialmo, a Chicago police officer, filed a lawsuit Friday suing the estate of a teen he fatally shot, claiming the 19-year-old has caused him “extreme emotional trauma.”
Rialmo is seeking more than $180,000 worth of damages.
On December 26, Rialmo shot and killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier.
Rialmo fired eight shots after he claimed LeGrier swung a baseball bat at his head multiple times, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Of the eight bullets fired, one hit and killed LeGrier’s 55-year-old neighbor, Bettie Jones, who was standing behind LeGrier at the time. Police have ruled that death accidental.
“Rialmo reasonably believed that if he did not use deadly force against LeGrier, that LeGrier would kill him,” the lawsuit stated.
LeGrier’s father, Antonio LeGrier, filed an earlier wrongful death suit seeking more than $10 million in damages. The family of Jones also filed a wrongful death suit in early January seeking more than $100,000 in damages.
LeGrier’s suit stated that his son was not a threat.
“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,” Antonio LeGrier’s attorney, Basileios Foutris, told the Tribune.
Rialmo’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky, told the Tribune his client has an “extra added burden [with] the death of Jones.”
“He’s going through what I would call the normal grieving process for someone who is forced to take a human life,” he said.
Brodsky added that it’s assumed his client was in the wrong for shooting LeGrier, and this is Rialmo’s chance to get his side of the story out there.
He said in the aftermath of the city’s $5 million settlement after the videotape showing 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald being shot by police was released, people are just looking for ways to get paid.
“Ever since the McDonald payoff, people are treating officer-involved confrontations like a lottery ticket and they’re waiting to cash it in,” he told the Tribune.
The Rialmo shooting is one of a number of instances of alleged police misconduct — with McDonald’s shooting death in late 2014 being the most prominent — that have tainted the image of the Chicago Police Department.