Chicago Policeman Suing Family of 19-Year-Old College Student He Fatally Shot for 'Extreme Emotional Distress'
Officer claims shooting has caused him severe emotional distress
A Chicago policeman who fatally shot a 19-year-old he accused of attacking him as well as a 55-year-old innocent bystander in late December is suing the teenager’s relatives for $10 million for emotional trauma.
The lawsuit contends the officer has suffered “extreme emotional distress” since he fired the shots that killed college engineering student Quintonio LeGrier and his neighbor, Bettie Jones, on Dec. 26, 2015.
The lawsuit is a counterclaim to a wrongful death suit LeGrier’s father brought against the city of Chicago two days after the shooting.
In Rialmo’s suit, which was obtained by PEOPLE, he states that LeGrier was brandishing a baseball bat when Rialmo responded to a disturbance call from LeGrier’s home. He alleges LeGrier refused his repeated instructions to drop the bat and instead started swinging it, missing Rialmo’s head by mere inches.
According to multiple reports, LeGrier himself called 911 three times prior to Rialmo’s arrival.
“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 distress,” the suit reads.
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Rialmo fired eight shots at LeGrier, striking him in the chest, buttocks, arm, back, and shoulder, according to the suit. One of those bullets passed through LeGrier s body and struck Jones, who was standing behind the suspect.
“The actions of LeGrier were criminal, done in a willful, malicious and wanton manner, and showed a depraved and callous disregard for the rights and priveleges of others, so as to make punitive damages appropriate and just,” the suit says.
Rialmo’s attorney, Joel A. Brodsky, admits to PEOPLE it is rare for police officers to sue the families of people they’ve killed in the line of duty, but defends his client’s right to claim damages.
“LeGrier tried to kill him,” Brodsky says. “This is a counterclaim for damages for two things: the trauma of being the victim of an attempted murder, and most importantly, the trauma LeGrier caused by forcing Officer Rialmo to take two lives – one, an innocent bystander. This is no small matter. That would cause trauma for anybody.”
Basileios J. Foutris, a lawyer for the LeGrier family, did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment for this article.