No Charges for Chicago Cop Who Accidentally Kills the Neighbor of a Suspect

chicago cop
Quintonio LeGrier in 7th or 8th grade. | Family Photo

Chicago police can’t seem to stop killing innocent people. Back in 2015, Chicago police responded to an apartment complex for a call of a mentally disturbed teenager wielding a baseball bat and threatening his parents. Upon arrival, police were met by Bettie Jones, a neighbor of the subject police were after. Within a few moments, both Bettie and their suspect Quintonio LeGrier would be dead. The Cook County District Attorney just announced that no charges will be brought against the officer who fired the fatal shots.

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Officer Robert Rialmo was let off the hook this month for the accidental death of Bettie Jones. According to the DA’s office, “After thorough review, the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney has concluded 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.”

Quintonio was in the middle of a psychological episode and was violently out of control. His shooting, whether warranted or not, was justified under state statutes. He was armed with a baseball bat, and as we all know, any armed subject is fair game. Unfortunately for Bettie, in Illinois, if you are lawfully defending yourself and accidentally kill a bystander in the process, you cannot be held responsible for their death. Therefore, according to Assistant State Attorney Eric Sussman, “Similarly, the evidence does not support a prosecution for the death of Bettie Jones.”

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Jones was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was asked by Quintonio’s father to let the police in when they arrived. She did just that. As she was pointing upstairs toward his apartment, Quintonio appeared wielding the bat. Officer Rialmo opened fire, striking Quintonio in the chest, legs, back and arms. One shot made its way to Bettie, hitting her in the chest and killing her instantly. According to the state’s report, Jones looked as if she was trying “to step back into her apartment; at which time, police fired shots in an attempt to stop Quintonio.” And with a single sentence, an innocent woman is killed and swept under the rug.

chicago cop

In a surprise twist, Officer Rialmo filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago for failing to properly train him. In his lawsuit, he alleges that he suffered “severe distress and permanent emotional trauma.” Despite his own lawsuit, the investigation by the state and the lawsuit being filed by the family of Bettie Jones, Officer Rialmo was released back to the streets late last year. The mistake was quickly caught and passed off as an administrative error. According to the attorney representing Quintonio’s family, Basileios Foutris, “Bottom line is, this guy shouldn’t be on the force anymore, let alone on the streets dealing with high-stress situations, given that he claims he’s suffering extreme emotional distress and has not been properly trained to do his job.”

Rialmo has since been returned to desk duty.

Sources: USA Today.

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