Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo, who shot & killed Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones late last year, changed his statement on the incident, adding that LeGrier swung a bat at him, two days after the fatal shooting. The day of the shooting, he gave a complete statement including no such detail.
The incident began when LeGrier called the Chicago Police Department three separate times saying that his life was in danger. The dispatcher hung up on him each time. LeGrier’s father, Antonio, then called 911 saying his son was the one threatening him, “My son’s attempting to break inside my bedroom door,” he said. “He’s got a baseball bat in his hand.”
Police dispatched Officer Rialmo to West Erie Street to investigate. His team encountered neighbor Bettie Jones, who pointed the police to the apartment where LeGrier and his father were fighting. When Rialmo approached the apartment door, police say LeGrier was wielding an aluminum baseball bat and threatening to strike either Antonio or Officer Rialmo.
Rialmo promptly fired three or four shots hitting both LeGrier and Jones, killing both.
An official Medical Examiner’s report concluded that LeGrier was shot on the left side of his chest, the lower left side of his back, the right buttock and the left arm as well as graze wounds to his chest and right shoulder. Jones died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. While the Medical Examiner’s report said the shots were fired in the hallway Antonio LeGrier’s attorney, Basileios Foutris, believes the officers fired from the curb.
“Every single employee of the City of Chicago Quintonio encountered reacted improperly, either by hanging up on him, or shooting him in the back,” Foutris said to NBC5.
Investigators said Rialmo’s initial statement revealed that LeGrier leaped out of the doorway gripping the bat in both hands. Rialmo said he retreated toward the stairs and drew his gun, firing when LeGrier raised the bat above his head. However, two days after the shooting Rialmo gave a second statement saying LeGrier charged out of the doorway already swinging the bat. In both interviews, Rialmo’s partner said he never saw LeGrier swing the bat.
Foutris said the conflicting statements show Rialmo was adding details to justify his killing of Quintonio LeGrier. But Rialmo’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky, said it’s not uncommon for police to conduct three or four interviews in order to gain as many details about events as possible. Brodsky even noted that Antonio’s second interview conflicted with statements he made during his first interview.
Antonio LeGrier’s lawsuit against the city for the wrongful death of his son is ongoing.
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications released a statement regarding the dispatcher that read, “Disciplinary proceedings are underway for the call-taker who handled the call at 4:18 a.m. for not following proper protocol.”