Police officer to sue family of teenager he shot

posted at 9:31 am on January 31, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

This is one of the more unusual (and disturbing) news items to pop up over the weekend. You probably recall the story of 19 year old Chicago resident Quintonio LeGrier, who was shot and killed by officer Robert Rialmo during a domestic disturbance call. LeGrier, who may have suffered from mental illness, came out of the residence with a baseball bat, ignored multiple orders to stand down and was shot. Unfortunately, one of the rounds fired by Rialmo was a “through and through” shot which passed through LeGrier and went on to strike and kill Bettie Jones, a neighbor. The City of Chicago apologized for the incident, but cleared Rialmo of wrongdoing.

This was followed by the LeGrier’s family filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer. Still nothing unusual so far, but now we come to the twist. Officer Rialmo is planning to counter-sue the estate of Quintonio LeGrier. (Yahoo News)

A white police officer plans to sue the estate of a black teenager he shot dead because he was traumatized by the fact that he accidentally killed the teen’s neighbor in the incident, his lawyer said.

“The damage is my client feels horrible that Bettie Jones is dead because of the actions he was forced to take,” attorney Joe Brodsky told AFP.

“It’s affected him greatly. It’s a burden he’s going to have to carry for the rest of his life.”

One hardly knows where to begin. The attorney for Officer Rialmo, Mr. Brodsky, clearly must think he has some sort of strategy going here. To offer the benefit of the doubt, this is being framed as a “counter-suit” since the family immediately sued the officer. From that perspective he may be thinking that he can play the refs a bit before jury selection and get people talking about something other than the original incident. Who knows? Perhaps it’s an attempt to build more sympathy for the officer.

Still, this is just a groan inducing headline and I’d expect the officer to know that himself. When you sign on for the difficult job of being a police officer, one possibility which always exists is that when you leave for work in the morning you may not be coming home to your family for dinner that night. It’s a tough reality, but the families of first responders have to deal with it every day. Unfortunately, the other possibility is that you may have to draw your weapon and potentially end the life of someone else. You try to avoid it and it will probably haunt you for a long time if it happens, but it’s just a fact of the job. I don’t expect any jury to have enough sympathy for the officer to award damages from the family of the deceased because of mental anguish over what is sometimes just part of the career you chose.

Further, there is the larger battle taking place in the court of public opinion. I realize that Officer Rialmo and his attorney have to look out for his best interests, but is this really helping? In an already tense atmosphere around Chicago I can’t imagine there being much sympathy for a cop who tries to sue the family that just buried their son, disturbed and/or violent as he may have been. This just sounds like an ill considered plan.

Police Line


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Just a few “facts” to chew on – “facts” as presented in various news reports of what happened.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 1:37 PM

So, a full fledged cluster fark from start to finish.

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 1:45 PM

How many families of perps will win a $250k settlement that the city will barely think about before settling only to have a counter suit take it away from them before lawyers realize there’s no money in it. It would be most efficient if the city would counter-sue these payday cases where no fault is found in the shooting officer, but they won’t, so the cop will have to. This isn’t really about his trauma although I’m sure it’s a burden to him, but about disarming the “pay me for my dead criminal son” tactic, enabled by unethical lawyers. We need more of this, not just for the cops’ sake, but for everyone’s’ sake.

Immolate on January 31, 2016 at 1:51 PM

So, a full fledged cluster fark from start to finish.

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 1:45 PM

That pretty well sums up mu opinion of it.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 1:51 PM

The 911 call we got was simply that he had a gun was was threatening to kill her. Which was not true.

She did not share any information with us that would allow the police to adjust their approach. He was killed because he wouldn’t drop the gun. The officers talked to him, but couldn’t get through because they didn’t know WHY he was crazy. He had just lost everything and was despondent-and she did it to him.

Here’s a thought about situations like this:

Police should try to be responsible and find out what’s going on before opening fire. That might keep police from turning into an assassination squad for anyone who can tell a story to a 911 operator.

To add insult to injury, the wife sued the department for the killing, taking it to federal court. For three years our officers lived under that cloud until a federal judge threw it all out with prejudice. And told the plaintiff and her attorneys if they tried that again, he was jailing someone for contempt.

So, go ahead and sue. Get all the facts out. I’m tired of the meme that it is part of our job to get kicked by citizens.

That is not true.

archer52 on January 31, 2016 at 12:06 PM

Why are you complaining? They got their day in court and won. This is what everyone who is targeted by the police (and lives) gets. The police were held to a similar standard as everyone else — so what’s the complaining about? Do you want police to be (even more) above the law?

On the other hand, if you want the legal process to be made more fair for everyone, then OK, I completely agree.

Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 1:56 PM

Is this a **** joke??!!!

noforeskin on January 31, 2016 at 10:26 AM

…quit looking at your crotch…and stop talking… to yourself!

JugEarsButtHurt on January 31, 2016 at 1:59 PM

Immolate on January 31, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Yes – and typically it’s the city’s insurance company that pushes to settle – they don’t want to spend more money on fighting a suit, especially if they think they can get it settled for a much smaller amount.
I ran into that when I was on a small town council back in the 90s – female town clerk quit because she was having personal problems, then filed an EEOC complaint in prep for a lawsuit against the town for sex discrimination – because she wasn’t paid the same as the (male) police chief and public works director, both of whom had 4 or 5 times the years in seniority with the town – in accordance with the HR seniority/pay policies SHE wrote.
The town’s insurance company pushed to settle with her for $20K to make it go away, even though we could have easily beat the suit.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Police should try to be responsible and find out what’s going on before opening fire.
Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 1:56 PM

They don’t have time to “find out what’s going on” if they respond to a call and are immediately attacked by someone with a weapon.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Further, there is the larger battle taking place in the court of public opinion. … This just sounds like an ill considered plan.

Say what you will, Jazz, but the cop just moved the Overton Window.

And that’s a good thing.

Bruno Strozek on January 31, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Yes – and typically it’s the city’s insurance company that pushes to settle – they don’t want to spend more money on fighting a suit, especially if they think they can get it settled for a much smaller amount.
I ran into that when I was on a small town council back in the 90s – female town clerk quit because she was having personal problems, then filed an EEOC complaint in prep for a lawsuit against the town for sex discrimination – because she wasn’t paid the same as the (male) police chief and public works director, both of whom had 4 or 5 times the years in seniority with the town – in accordance with the HR seniority/pay policies SHE wrote.
The town’s insurance company pushed to settle with her for $20K to make it go away, even though we could have easily beat the suit.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Yikes… Shades of Yamhill… Sounds like you just described my sister…

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Yikes… Shades of Yamhill… Sounds like you just described my sister…

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Bummer…..

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:25 PM

Yikes… Shades of Yamhill… Sounds like you just described my sister…

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Bummer…..

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:25 PM

There were weird extenuating circumstances with my sister. She was kidnapped, raped and left locked in the trunk of her own car for 3 days before anyone found her. That messed her up in her head. Which led to her divorce, and a serious drinking problem, which may or may not have resulted in her believing that she was sexually harassed at work.

She had been a senior city administrator here in San Diego before becoming a political consultant for Brian Bilbray. After his election in 1994 she moved to Yamhill Oregon and took on the position of City Administrator or City Clerk or something like that.

She was well educated and very intelligent, but after the kidnapping and rape, well, she pretty much lost it and went loony tunes. I don’t blame Yamhill, it really wasn’t their fault, she needed professional help but apparent refused to get it when she really needed it.

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 2:39 PM

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 2:39 PM

Our town clerk had problems as well, not as direct as your sister’s – she and her husband had recently paid for an acrobatic plane ride for their son-in-law for his birthday – the plane crashed…..

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:43 PM

I remember a mass shooting in a SF law firm. A woman who worked there was estranged from her husband. He shows up with a box of flowers with a shotgun inside and methodically worked his way thru the office shooting people. A guy was under his desk talking to 911, and you could hear the shots getting closer and the poor man freaking out. Finally the shooter is at his desk and the man is screaming in terror. Luckily, the cops arrived and killed the shooter. Then his estranged wife turned around and sued the cops. smh

Blake on January 31, 2016 at 2:43 PM

The fifties? You old people and your romantic views of the past./

Who was your favorite on Ozzie and Harriet?

The Beaver.

At my age my favorite is the ones with a beaver.

wukong on January 31, 2016 at 2:44 PM

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 2:39 PM

Our town clerk had problems as well, not as direct as your sister’s – she and her husband had recently paid for an acrobatic plane ride for their son-in-law for his birthday – the plane crashed…..

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Sadly trauma can shake up even the most intelligent and stable of people, causing them to become unstable and unpredictable. I suspect that in my sisters case, after her ordeal, she became so hyper sensitive she really might not have been able to tell the difference between sexual harassment and an innocent but poorly worded statement.

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 3:00 PM

They don’t have time to “find out what’s going on” if they respond to a call and are immediately attacked by someone with a weapon.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 2:04 PM

In that case, they already know what’s going on: they are being attacked. They should shoot back to protect themselves.

In cases when they haven’t been attacked, they should be responsible and try to find out what’s going on before entering into a situation and opening fire on someone.

Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 3:34 PM

In that case, they already know what’s going on: they are being attacked. They should shoot back to protect themselves.

In cases when they haven’t been attacked, they should be responsible and try to find out what’s going on before entering into a situation and opening fire on someone.

Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 3:34 PM

So, what’s your point in relation to this case?
The cop was sent on a domestic disturbance call, and was attacked by a crazy kid with a baseball bat when he showed up.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 4:03 PM

Ammunition needs to be re-engineered.

cimbri on January 31, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Police officer to sue family of teenager he shot

He should. I hope he wins.

xNavigator on January 31, 2016 at 4:38 PM

Waste of time. He’ll never collect. They’ll just declare chapter 7 if there’s a judgment.

cimbri on January 31, 2016 at 4:43 PM

So, what’s your point in relation to this case?
The cop was sent on a domestic disturbance call, and was attacked by a crazy kid with a baseball bat when he showed up.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 4:03 PM

I was responding to someone talking about a different case. Which — speaking of finding out what’s going on — you’d know if you read the part of his post I quoted right above where I suggested police should find out what’s going on before opening fire.

Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 4:47 PM

“The Estate of a black teenager”????? What? 5 bucks and a pair of Air Jordans???

Indiana Jim on January 31, 2016 at 5:26 PM

LOL again – twice on the same page – will I ever get credit for actually posting new news here?

corona79 on January 31, 2016 at 5:36 PM

Interesting discussion all around. But this is the bottom line:

Further, there is the larger battle taking place in the court of public opinion. … This just sounds like an ill considered plan.

Say what you will, Jazz, but the cop just moved the Overton Window.

And that’s a good thing.

Bruno Strozek on January 31, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Reminds me of Steyn’s counter-suit against Mann.

AesopFan on January 31, 2016 at 5:47 PM

Good for the cop.

What was it Preznint Sh!t Midas said? oh Yeah “Punch back twice as hard.”

jukin3 on January 31, 2016 at 6:05 PM

The city is going to settle what is obviously an egregious lawsuit. Why shouldn’t the officer share in that settlement?

unclesmrgol on January 31, 2016 at 9:04 PM

Absolutely agree. With one stroke, the cops have sucked away any profit for the family and their lawyers.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the family’s lawyers find a way to dump them.

katy the mean old lady on January 31, 2016 at 10:41 AM

Sure, until it trickles down to every other case and is used by the cops even when they have done something wrong to warrant a lawsuit. So yet again, various sectors of our society ruin it for the rest of us. But of course, pointing out those problem sectors is…

“The Estate of a black teenager”????? What? 5 bucks and a pair of Air Jordans???

Indiana Jim on January 31, 2016 at 5:26 PM

racist! Dats raciss! /s

oryguncon on February 1, 2016 at 8:58 AM

This just sounds like an ill considered plan.

When it comes to the US legal system, you can toss common sense out the window before you start making any judgments about what is ‘ill considered’ or not.

If nothing else, the officer’s suit may help discourage families of those shot by an officer (and their sleazy lawyers) from the automatic knee-jerk reaction of filing a lawsuit.

Yes it makes little sense, but it does make legal sense.

s1im on February 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM

In cases when they haven’t been attacked, they should be responsible and try to find out what’s going on before entering into a situation and opening fire on someone.

Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 3:34 PM

That’s okay as long as you accept that a lot more people are going to be raped, mutilated, and murdered while the cops are “being responsible and trying to find out what’s going on before entering a situation”.

Minutes and seconds count when it comes to a critical situation like this. If the goal is to keep officers from making mistakes at all costs, then the cost will include having crime victims be further victimized before the cops take extra time to figure out what is going on and make a decision to take action.

However, in this situation, it’s debatable whether the officer actually made a ‘mistake’. If somebody charges a cop with a baseball bat, I’d expect the cop to draw the service weapon and use deadly force to stop the person. Stun methods like a Taser sound good in theory, but sometimes don’t work.

s1im on February 1, 2016 at 11:14 AM

The Beaver.

Jazz Shaw on January 31, 2016 at 10:12 AM

I’ve always liked Beaver.

Clearly this cop was not in an ideal position and was not paying attention to what was behind/beyond his target.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 10:23 AM

But, I have to wonder why in the world these bystanders were standing around? You go to watch the mayhem, expect you might get a little mayhem on you.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Ah yes, you get to this point.

only if the death involved is a result of the officer involved having committed a crime themselves.

oscarwilde on January 31, 2016 at 11:07 AM

Not necessarily for just a crime. Clear cases of gross negligence should be included. (That would include clearly violating department safety policies.)
And excellent comment.

No wonder cops hate being sent on domestic disturbance calls.

dentarthurdent on January 31, 2016 at 12:39 PM

Yep.

Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 1:56 PM

What in the world are you complaining about?

you’d know if you read the part of his post I quoted

Kohath on January 31, 2016 at 4:47 PM

I read his post, and your response and I still don’t know how the heck your point relates to his story.

GWB on February 1, 2016 at 12:21 PM

I wish more police officers would sue.

billetdoux on February 1, 2016 at 7:54 PM

Comment pages: 1 2