CHICAGO (CBS) — A surprising turn ended the wrongful death civil lawsuit involving the police shooting of 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier.
As CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos reports, it came down to a document signed by all 12 jurors saying that Officer Rialmo feared for his life when he fired at Quintonio LeGrier. The LeGrier family walked away with no monetary reward for damages.
“The Judge signed an order that says the LeGrier family gets nothing,” stated Officer Rialmo’s attorney Joel Brodsky.
“The city got judgement on a legal technicality, so the verdict was taken away,” said Basileios Foutris, the LeGrier family’s attorney.
After three and a half hours of deliberations, jurors originally signed in favor of the LeGrier family, awarding them just over one million dollars in damages, calling the shooting unjustified. Then the jurors checked yes on a special interrogatory, which asked the question “Did Officer Robert Rialmo fear for his life when he fired shots?”
“It’s confusing to jurors when you have instructions to them that are hard to understand. This jury obviously misunderstood the instructions,” stated CBS 2’s Legal Analyst Irv Miller.
“If he’s justified in using deadly force, there are no damages. That’s simply the law,” stated Joel Brodsky.
“Under the law, the specific answer that if he was justified trumps the general verdict that says he was wrong. I think the judge had no choice in this case to do what she did,” stated Miller.
The shooting happened in December 2015 on Chicago’s West side. LeGrier and a downstairs neighbor, Bettie Jones, were shot and killed by Officer Rialmo.
LeGrier, 19, was the original subject of a domestic disturbance call. Rialmo says he shot LeGrier because the teen was threatening him with a baseball bat.
The Jury Foreman says their original verdict came down to physical evidence.
Jury Foreman Dave Fitzsimmons stated the evidence they considered included where Officer Rialmo was standing when he was shooting and the blood stains, in terms, where Quentonio came to his final resting place.
CBS 2’s Legal Analyst Irv Miller says it is likely the LeGrier family will take this to appellate court and ask to reinstate the just over one million dollars in damages.