City of Chicago lawyers seek to sue estate of teen fatally shot by police.. SMDH…

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In an unorthodox move, lawyers for the city of Chicago are seeking to sue the estate of a teen shot to death by a police officer two years ago, alleging he was responsible for the death of a bystander the officer accidentally killed as well.

In a motion filed Thursday, the lawyers sought a Cook County judge’s approval to bring a lawsuit blaming Quintonio LeGrier, 19, for the shooting that also killed 55-year-old Bettie Jones.

The proposed suit rests largely on allegations that LeGrier tried to hit Officer Robert Rialmo with an aluminum baseball bat before the officer opened fire, killing both the teenager and Jones, a neighbor standing nearby.

If successful, the suit could shift some of the city’s potentially hefty financial liability for the death of an innocent woman onto LeGrier’s estate.

It is only the latest twist in the litigation over the shooting on the day after Christmas 2015.

In addition to suits by survivors of both LeGrier and Jones, Rialmo filed an unusual lawsuit against the Police Department that alleges in part that he was inadequately trained. The officer is also suing LeGrier’s estate, blaming him for a shooting that Rialmo says caused him emotional trauma.

Now the city is echoing that litigation with its own suit against LeGrier’s estate.

Attorney Basileios Foutris, who represents the LeGrier family, said the teen’s estate currently contains no assets — though lawsuits against the city in fatal police shootings can reap substantial damages.

Foutris called the city’s move a “sick” and “twisted” attempt to shirk liability and said Rialmo should never have been on the street.

“It’s not enough to ? people,” he said. “Now you gotta go ahead and sue them.”

Rialmo’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, said the city’s suit backs up his contention that Rialmo fired in self-defense because of LeGrier’s actions. The officer was justified in shooting the bat-wielding teen, Brodsky said, even if that led to Jones’ death.

An attorney representing the city, Matthew Hurd, could not be reached for comment, while Bill McCaffrey, spokesman for the city’s Law Department, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

The shooting garnered wide attention as it killed a bystander and was the first fatal Chicago police shooting following the court-ordered release of video of an officer shooting teen Laquan McDonald 16 times. The video’s release sparked calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation and heated protests fueled by long-standing complaints about the department’s treatment of minorities. Efforts to overhaul the department continue more than two years after the video’s emergence.

About 4:30 a.m on the day after Christmas 2015, Rialmo and his partner responded to 911 calls about a domestic disturbance at a West Side apartment where LeGrier was staying with his father.

LeGrier had behaved erratically as a student at Northern Illinois University and had altercations with other students and run-ins with police, records show.

LeGrier’s mental health has become an issue in the litigation that has followed his death, and the city’s proposed lawsuit alleges he “failed to take prescribed medication to control his mental illness.”

Jones, who lived downstairs at the home in the 4700 block of West Erie Street, answered the door and pointed the cops to the second-floor apartment. LeGrier then came down the stairs with a baseball bat, according to an analysis released in February by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, which declined to bring charges against Rialmo in the incident.

The police started to back up onto the front landing as the teen came toward them with the bat raised over his head, prosecutors wrote. As Rialmo backed down the stairs, he fired, according to prosecutors. He shot eight times, hitting LeGrier six times. Jones had been standing behind him and was shot once in the chest, prosecutors wrote.

Rialmo recently stipulated in court that he knew Jones was standing close by when he fired, though Brodsky said the officer was nonetheless justified in firing in self-defense. Rialmo has said he feared for his life after LeGrier swung the bat at him

Rialmo’s proximity to LeGrier during the shooting is at issue in the litigation. A witness said in a sworn deposition that Rialmo was on the sidewalk when he fired, and attorneys for the Jones and LeGrier families have said physical evidence backs up that testimony. But Rialmo said in a deposition that he fired his first shot from the porch, putting him closer to the teen at that critical moment.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates shootings by Chicago police, has yet to rule on whether the shooting was justified under department policy.

The city’s proposed lawsuit blames LeGrier for “negligent acts and/or omissions” including that he failed to follow police commands, advanced on officers, swung the bat at police and failed to take medication to control his mental illness.

“We deny categorically that he did anything that justified him being shot,” Foutris, the LeGrier family lawyer, said.