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Fired Chicago Officer Robert Rialmo sues to get job back

Crusader Staff Report

Fired Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city.

Last month, the Chicago Police Board voted 7-0 to fire Officer Robert Rialmo for killing Bettie Jones, an innocent Black woman who was gunned down along with Quintonio LeGrier in a high-profile shooting that happened nearly four years on Chicago’s West Side.

In their wrongful termination lawsuit, Rialmo’s attorneys say their client’s termination was “contrary to law and sound public opinion” and was “arbitrary, capricious and unrelated to the requirements of service.” In their lawsuit filed Wednesday, the attorneys ask the court to reverse the board’s decision and reinstate Rialmo with back pay. The first hearing on the lawsuit is reportedly scheduled in March.

The story was first reported by the Chicago Sun Times.

In 2015, Rialmo shot Jones and LeGrier at an apartment on the West Side. LeGrier’s father called police after he had barricaded himself in his unit as his 19-year old son tried to enter it with an aluminum baseball bat. His son, who was a student at Northern Illinois University, was experiencing a mental health episode at the time. LeGrier’s father asked Jones, 55, his neighbor, to open the doors for the officers when they arrive. When the officers entered the building, LeGrier rushed downstairs with the bat as Jones walked upstairs. Both were shot dead.

No criminal charges were brought against Rialmo. The defunct Independent Police Review Agency ruled the shooting unjustified and recommended termination, but Superintendent Eddie Johnson disagreed, saying Rialmo feared for his life.

Both families sued Rialmo and the city. Jones’ estate was given a $16 million settlement. In 2018,  a Cook County jury initially awarded the LeGrier’s father just over $1 million, but the award was taken away when jurors told him that the shooting was justified.

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