CHICAGO (CBS) — In 2015, Chicago police officer Robert Rialmo opened fire on Quintonio LeGrier in the vestibule of a West Side home, a shooting that left LeGrier and 55-year-old bystander Bettie Jones dead.
Now, attorneys representing the victims say the paramedics on the scene have changed their stories, and are questioning if city lawyers had anything to do with it.
In two recorded statements to investigators in 2016, paramedic Joseph DiGiovanni said the bodies of LeGrier and Jones were both inside the apartment when they were shot, adding photographs of the scene back that up. As does an eye witness, who told CBS 2 Jones fell face up inside her apartment and LeGrier fell face down inside the doorway. During a deposition with city attorneys, however, DiGiovanni changed his account of the bodies’ locations.
DiGiovanni’s differing statements was enough for attorneys to file a motion, asking the judge to investigate — and he is.
“That’s a corruption of the justice system. People are under oath. We expect them to testify truthfully. If you are a city employee or not a city employee, you still have to testify truthfully as to what happened,” said Basileios Foutris, an attorney for the LeGrier Estate.
“Something changed here, and what changed is these paramedics spoke to and were prepared by city lawyers.”
DiGiovanni is represented by the city.
A Chicago Law Department spokesperson said, “Any suggestion that our attorneys improperly asked a witness to alter or change testimony is unequivocally false.”
“They want to do everything possible, it seems in this case, to reduce the distance between Quintonio LeGrier and the police officer,” said Jack Kennedy, another attorney for the LeGrier Estate.
In DiGiovanni’s deposition, read in court Tuesday, he said: “When I see pictures, things get fuzzy for me. What I’m trying to explain… this is a month later. I did hundreds of runs. I’m doing the best that I can without trying to feel like you’re coming at me personally.”
“There’s nothing fuzzy about what he said in his deposition. What’s clear is that he changed where the bodies were positioned,” Foutris said.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is schedule to give a deposition Thursday. Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be deposed on March 29.