Chicago police authorities mistakenly sent an officer back on the streets about six months after fatally shooting two people, including an innocent bystander, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Robert Rialmo, 27, is still under investigation for killing Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones in Dec. 2015, when he responded to a domestic disturbance call. Officials assigned him to desk duty while the investigation is ongoing, and while the city responds to his lawsuit, which alleges poor police training and psychological harm from the shooting.
Officials told The Tribune that an administrative error resulted in Rialmo’s redeployment to the street. Making matters worse, he was assigned to a street unit involved in potentially violent encounters.
They caught the mistake in October, when Rialmo had been back on the streets for four months. During that time, he was involved in 10 arrests. He’s been reassigned to paid desk duty.
Attorneys for the families of Jones and LeGrier doubt that it was a mistake because the shootings made national news, and someone in the department should have noticed in the four months that Rialmo was back on the streets.
“Bottom line is, this guy shouldn’t be on the force anymore, let alone on the streets dealing with high-stress situations, given that he claims he’s suffering extreme emotional distress and has not been properly trained to do his job,” a lawyer for the LeGrier family, Basileios Foutris, told the newspaper.
During the deadly encounter, Rialmo reported that LeGrier, a 19-year-old college student studying engineering at Northern Illinois University, swung an aluminum bat at him. Rialmo said he backed away and order LeGrier to drop the bat. When LeGrier, whose mother said suffered from mental issues, ignored the order, Rialmo fired his weapon, striking the student six times and Jones once.
The officer filed a suit against LeGrier’s estate, blaming the teenager for causing the shooting that resulted in his emotional distress.
However, witnesses said Rialmo was not standing close to LeGrier—therefore in no danger—when he opened fire.
This revelation comes against the backdrop of an ongoing federal investigation into whether the Chicago Police Department systemically violates civil rights, as well as the explosive aftermath of a suspected cover-up of a police misconduct following the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
The Tribune said it found no use of force reports, new lawsuits, or citizen complaints against Rialmo while he was back on the streets. Police officials plan to discipline a command officer for the mistake.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune