The Chicago police officer who fatally shot a 19-year-old man and his neighbor in December reportedly keeps changing details about what led him to fire his service weapon, raising doubts about the need for deadly force.
The Chicago Sun-Times obtained police reports showing that Officer Robert Rialmo gave differing accounts of what happened in interviews with police detectives in the two days after the shooting. He did not initially tell investigators that Quintonio LeGrier had swung a bat at his head, prompting him to shoot the college student and his 55-year-old neighbor, Bettie Jones, on Dec. 26, the report says.
Per the Chicago Tribune:
It wasn’t until Officer Robert Rialmo was re-interviewed two days after the Dec. 26 shooting that he first alleged 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier had twice tried to hit him with the aluminum bat – once with a downward swing and again with a backward swipe — before the officer opened fire, according to a detective’s supplemental report.
In an earlier statement the morning of the shooting, Rialmo had said only that LeGrier had the bat raised over his head and refused commands to drop it.
Basileios Foutris, who represents LeGrier’s father, Antonio, in a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and the city, said the differing statements showed Rialmo was adding details to justify the use of force. Foutris noted that in a counterclaim filed earlier this year against the teen’s estate alleging emotional trauma, Rialmo gave an even more vivid account of the alleged attack, describing how he felt the whoosh of air as the bat passed inches from his head.
Foutris says Rialmo has changed his story three times, leading him to believe he’s covering himself.
“Relatives of Quintonio LeGrier and Jones have sued the city, and Rialmo responded with his own lawsuit against the LeGriers. The four-year officer alleges he has experienced emotional distress, pain and suffering,” writes The Sun-Times reports.