In a statement released on Feb. 10, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced that it would not file charges against Robert Rialmo, the Chicago Police officer who fatally shot Quintonio LeGrier, 17, and Bettie Jones, , in December 2015. The incident happened outside of an apartment building at 4710 W. Erie in [XX].
After an investigation into the shooting — conducted by the FBI, the Illinois State Police and the Independent Police Review Authority — the State’s Attorney’s office explained that “there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Rialmo did not act in self-defense in shooting LeGrier and Jones.”
“A criminal prosecution for first or second-degree murder would require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Rialmo was not legally justified in using deadly force against LeGrier,” the State’s Attorney’s statement reads. “In other words, a judge or jury would need to conclude that Rialmo did not reasonably believe he or his partner were in imminent danger of great bodily harm from LeGrier.
“The uncontroverted evidence from the investigation into the shooting establishes that LeGrier was armed with an aluminum baseball bat when the officers encountered him and LeGrier wielded the bat in a threatening manner while in their close proximity. Under Illinois law, a baseball bat may be considered a deadly weapon.”
Similarly, the statement adds, the evidence does not support prosecuting Rialmo for Jones’ death because, according to Illinois law, “when an individual acts in self-defense and accidentally kills a bystander, he is not criminally liable for the bystander’s death.”
The State’s Attorney’s office stated that it has no opinion on the
According to a recent Chicago Sun-Times report, the State’s Attorney’s decision “outraged Jones’ and LeGrier’s families, who have sued Rialmo and the city in civil court.”
Rialmo, who issued a statement expressing remorse for the killings and stating that he “had no choice” but to shoot because dispatch didn’t notify him of LeGrier’s mental state, has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department and has countersued Quintonio LeGrier’s estate. Rialmo is no longer on the working on the street, the Sun-Times reported.
The current Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx — who defeated Anita Alvarez in a primary election last year — did not a play a role in reviewing the case, her office’s statement notes. Foxx recused herself because she previously worked at Powers, Rogers & Smith, the law firm that represents the estate of Bettie Jones.
On Dec. 26, 2015, Officer Rialmo and his partner was dispatched to the two-flat apartment building where Jones lived on the first-floor beneath Antonio LeGrier, who called police on his son Quintonio because the teenager had been wielding a bat and acting erratically.
When Rialmo and his partner arrived, they rang the doorbell. Jones opened the front door for the police “and pointed towards the upstairs apartment,” according to the State’s Attorney’s report, which claims that LeGrier almost immediately began running down the stairs wielding the bat after officers opened the door.
“Rialmo and his partner backed onto the front landing and began moving backward down the front stairs,” the report notes.
As the officers backed down the stairs, the report claims, LeGrier continued to pursue them with the bat before “Rialmo drew his service weapon and fired eight shots toward LeGrier while backing down the front staircase.” LeGrier was shot multiple times and Jones was shot once in the chest.
But Larry Rogers, an attorney for the Jones family, has disputed the report’s findings, since it did not “mention ‘damning evidence’ that Rialmo fired his weapon at LeGrier, whose body fell inside the door to the duplex, from the sidewalk outside the house, some 14 feet away,” the Sun-Times reported. “That evidence conflicts with Rialmo’s version of events, Rogers said.”