CHICAGO (CBS) — Jury selection begins Thursday in the lawsuit against the city and the Chicago police officer who shot and killed two people the day after Christmas in 2015.
The Emanuel administration already has agreed to a $16 million settlement with the family of 55-year-old Bettie Jones, a bystander who was killed when Officer Robert Rialmo opened fire on 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier while responding to a domestic disturbance call. LeGrier also was killed in the shooting.
LeGrier’s family is going to trial in their lawsuit against the city, accusing Rialmo of shooting the teenager without justification.
Rialmo’s attorneys have said LeGrier came at him with a baseball bat, and the officer opened fire in self-defense.
LeGrier’s family has contended he wasn’t close enough to Rialmo to be a threat.
Jury selection in the civil case could wrap up as soon as Thursday afternoon. When it does, the lock will be lifted on sealed depositions given by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson before the trial.
Johnson also has said Rialmo was forced to fire, but the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has ruled the shooting was not justified and has recommended he be fired. The Chicago Police Board now must hold a public hearing to determine if Rialmo should be fired.
The superintendent’s deposition reportedly focused on the COPA ruling in the shooting. Emanuel’s testimony likely also involved questions about the police watchdog’s ruling, as well as his conversations with LeGrier’s and Jones’ families, as well as his public comments about a “code of silence” in the Chicago Police Department.
In an unusual move, RIalmo has sued LeGrier’s estate and the Police Department. The officer claims LeGrier’s actions forced him to shoot, causing the officer “extreme emotional trauma.” Rialmo also claims he was not adequately trained by the department.