Jury Awards Dead Criminal's Family $1M, Then Judge Takes It Away

The family of a man who was shot by Chicago Officer Robert Rialmo will not see a payday despite the jury's award.

Chicago, IL – A Cook County Circuit Court judge reversed a jury’s decision to award over $1 million dollars to the family of a bat-wielding man who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in 2015.

In their wrongful death lawsuit, the family of Quintonio LeGrier, 19, had asked the jury to award as much as $25.05 million, CLTV reported.

On Wednesday, the jury determined Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo, who had already been cleared of wrongdoing by both his department and the Cook County Attorney’s Office, was not justified in shooting LeGrier, and awarded his parents $1.08 million in damages, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Judge Rena Marie Van Tine announced the verdict, then explained that jurors had also signed off on a special interrogatory that found Officer Rialmo had acted under the belief that LeGrier intended to kill or severely injure him or his partner.

Van Tine determined that the jury’s response to the special interrogatory overrode the balance of the verdict. Consequently, LeGrier’s family will not receive a financial award.

Officer Rialmo had also filed a lawsuit against LeGrier’s estate for infliction of emotional distress, the Star-Telegram reported.

The jury ruled in his favor on Wednesday but did not award him any money.

The shooting occurred at approximately 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2015, when Officer Rialmo and his partner responded to reports of a disturbance at an apartment where LeGrier was staying, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Bettie Jones, 55, who lived in a downstairs apartment, opened the door for officers and directed them to an upper-floor apartment.

But as officers began climbing the stairs, LeGrier charged down at them with a baseball bat raised over his head, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office revealed, according to the Chicago Tribune.

As the officers quickly backed down the stairs and onto the front landing, Officer Rialmo fired at LeGrier, who had continued his pursuit of the officers.

LeGrier was hit by six of the eight bullets fired by Officer Rialmo.

Jones, who was standing behind LeGrier when the altercation took place, was shot once in the chest.

Jones and LeGrier both died from their gunshot wounds.

The City of Chicago settled with Jones’ family in the amount of $16 million, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Although the Cook County Attorney’s Office and the Chicago Police Department determined that Officer Rialmo was justified in shooting LeGrier when he charged at police with a bat raised above his head, the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability disagreed, WGN reported.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson rejected the civil review board’s recommendation to fire the officer in March, according to WGN.

“An investigation must address the question of whether the officer, while making split-second decision in tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving circumstances, acted as another reasonable department member on the scene would have done,” Superintendent Johnson said at the time.

After Van Tine’s ruling, Officer Rialmo issued a statement through his attorney.

"I will always regret that I was forced to end the lives of two people, and even being justified does not change the fact that it was a tragedy for everyone, including the people of Chicago, who I only wanted to help and protect," he said in the statement which was released on his attorney’s Facebook page.

The LeGrier family’s attorney, Basileios Foutris, said the city won the civil lawsuit on a “legal technicality,” and noted that he would be “exploring all our other options going forward,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

Comments (31)
No. 1-31
RunCop
RunCop

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Mrs10
Mrs10

About time!

Ethananddrewsnana
Ethananddrewsnana

Ethan Andrews Nana

Ethananddrewsnana
Ethananddrewsnana

I'm sorry but those boys got what they deserved. being grown like that you should know better. You don't chase after anybody with the baseball bat especially a police officer because you will get hurt.

TheMickster
TheMickster

If only our police officers could file for "infliction of emotional abuse", they would all win.

GForce48
GForce48

Kudos to the judge for making the correct and brave decision!

Budman
Budman

It is sick to have family members be compensated with money for dumb ass shit thuggery!!

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

Justice was well-served. In a time when many of us shake our heads at the "injustice" rendered by the courts, this was the right decision. We need more judges like this one!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

He shouldn't have killed the innocent bystander. Blue Lives Matter, but so do regular people's.

BarbMomof5
BarbMomof5

I am glad that the Judge overturned the jury. These people do not deserve to get compensated for their family member's Criminal Activities. This would set a precedent for the family members of criminals to sue for compensation from their family member's criminal activity that got them exterminated.

Conwol
Conwol

I feel sorry that these police officers have to be judged like this. Not only do people go after the police departments, then they go after the officers involved, by sueing them personally. What a disgrace. It seems like the officer has to be shot, beforeany action can be taken against the real criminals.

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

Woohoo!!! I wish I could have seen the face on this family! One second you think you've won the ghetto lottery, the next second you realize you are going to still be stuck in the hood!!! LMAO!!!!

Gipsygirl
Gipsygirl

She wasn't shot on purpose. She was standing behind the bat wielding maniac and was shot by a bullet meant for him.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

@Gipsygirl: even so, the officers should have held their fire until they cleared the backdrop. We expect no less of professions. $16 million dollar lesson.

lmr111702
lmr111702

So, Burgers, do you really think the officer WANTED to kill the woman? Why was she following the suspect on the staircase when she clearly knew he was threatening officers with a baseball bat? She should have gone back into her apartment, and not be in the range of a hail of gunfire clearly not meant for her. That was an accident pure and simple. Walk a day in a police officer's shoes and have your life threatened and have to make split second decisions and maybe you won't be so quick to make a ridiculous statement like "he shouldn't have killed the bystander."

Cstuartsr
Cstuartsr

How can any jury in America award the family of a bat wielding thug who was coming after two officers $1 Million dollars? Even though the judge overturned the suit, the officer still suffers. How can anybody think that it does not affect an officer when they have to use deadly force? It’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. When will we ever get back to reality where if you have a weapon and you come at and officer you will get shot!!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

I read the published opinion on this case when it came out, probably about a year ago. IIRC, the judge denied qualified immunity on the basis that a jury might find that it was unreasonable for the police to fear for their lives given all the circumstances (for example, distance, other force options, manner in which the bat weilder was approaching). Now, the jury apparently has found that the officers subjectively feared for their lives. The issue on appeal will be whether the fear was objectively reasonable. It will be interesting to see how the Seventh Circuit disposes of this appeal. I guess my point is that I would have liked to see the civil servants accept more risk to avoid shooting the innocent bystander. It appears that the City of Chicago agrees with me bcs they shelled out $16M, which is a lot of money. I am not particularly bothered that the family of the disturbed guy with the bat might not get a payday, but the readers of this thd should understand that this was not exemplary police conduct.

Danimyl
Danimyl

@Gipsygirl: even so, the officers should have held their fire until they cleared the backdrop. We expect no less of professions. $16 million dollar lesson. So in other words he should have waited until the bat made contact with his head before eliminating the threat? You should become a Police Officer and show everyone how it's done.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

@Danimyl: The plaintiff's theory was that there was a considerable distance between plaintiff and the officer and that the officer could easily have maintained that distance. According to the media accounts, Rialmo admitted that he "screwed up" because he started shooting without clearing the backdrop. I agree that Rialmo did not have to wait until the bat crushed his skull, but that doesn't mean that he shouldn't have waited at all.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

I think Gipsygirl needs to go on a ride along and go into some of these situations and see what she would do. Oh wait,,,,,she wouldn't be allowed to because it's too dangerous for others. How about a shoot/don't shoot situation. She knows absolutely nothing about what the police have to go through every day but know this, they put their lives on the line every day to protect people like you.

Pat1978
Pat1978

Burgers would use a taser and end up in a coma.

Pat1978
Pat1978

Armchair know-it-all

Pat1978
Pat1978

Reminds me of people without kids with grand ideas about parenting.

DRTice
DRTice

He got what he had coming

Katarina
Katarina

@Pat1978 From his comments, it seems Burgers is already in a coma. The bat would have merely knocked some sense into him and shown him what police work is really like.

HCD_is_my_bitch
HCD_is_my_bitch

I like Burgers, especially with Bacon and Chedder.

joaquinradioman
joaquinradioman

What fools this jury was and the city to award the family of a thug money...Thanks for backing your officers Chicago!!

angeleyes
angeleyes

Love how criminals families are awarded so much more then that person would ever make, at least legally, and they are quick to blame LEOs for their failures in raising a productive, law abiding citizen.