CHICAGO (CBS) — Five years after the death of Quintonio LeGrier, his mother says the pain is still raw.
LeGrier, 19, was shot and killed by Chicago Police during a domestic disturbance call on Dec. 26, 2015. His downstairs neighbor, Bettie Jones, was also killed during the commotion.
On Saturday night, his mother, Janet Cooksey, released a balloon in his honor. She expressed relief at some of the changes that have come to the Chicago Police Department.
“I’m saddened every day by Quintonio’s death, but especially at Christmastime,” Cooksey said. “But if there’s one thing I’m grateful for or to be happy for Antonio, and that’s that Eddie Johnson and Robert Rialmo are no longer on the force.”
In October of last year, the Police Board fired the officer involved – Robert Rialmo.
When Rialmo responded to the call, LeGrier, apparently suffering from mental health problems, came running down the stairs with a baseball bat.
Rialmo fired eight shots, six of them hitting LeGrier, one of them hitting Jones, who was standing behind the teenager.
In December 2017, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended Rialmo be fired, asserting investigators they found no evidence to support Rialmo’s claim the shooting was necessary.
In November 2018, then-Police Supt. Eddie Johnson recommended Rialmo be fired, eight months after calling the shooting justified. The superintendent accused Rialmo of violating five department rules: conduct impeding the department’s efforts to achieve its policy, and bringing discredit on the department; disobeying an order or directive; inattention to duty; incompetency; and unlawful or unnecessary use of a weapon.
On Oct. 17, 2019, the Police Board agreed.
That night, Police Board President Ghian Foreman read the board’s ruling, which said in part: “This tragic case raises difficult, but important questions about when a police officer may use deadly force – specifically in this instance in which he knew, or reasonably should have known, that an innocent bystander was in his line of fire.”
Foreman added, “Officer Rialmo had an obligation to reexamine his options in light of the presence of Ms. Jones.”
He said the board had ruled that Rialmo’s deadly use of force was “objectively unreasonable” given the totality of the circumstances and thus he must be fired.
The city also paid out a $16 million wrongful settlement to Jones’ family.
Former Supt. Johnson was later fired for unrelated reasons.
Cooksey said she is still searching for the full truth about her son’s death.
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