Chicago police dismissal of Robert Rialmo upheld by appeals court

An Illinois appeals court has dismissed former fired officer Robert Rialmo’s latest attempt to join the Chicago Police Department.

Rialmo was fired in 2019 for inadvertently shooting and killing a bystander in 2015 at a West Side home where he said a 19-year-old man charged at him with a baseball bat.

Rialmo killed the young man, although that shooting was not a factor in his dismissal.

Rialmo sued the city and the Chicago Police Board — the agency charged with sanctioning officers accused of misconduct — in a bid to overturn the decision to fire him. A Cook County judge dismissed that lawsuit in 2020, upholding Rialmo’s dismissal.

He then took his case to the Illinois Court of Appeals, which ruled on Friday that the disciplinary proceedings were fair and that “an officer should be fired.”

Rialmo’s attorney could not be reached. City officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The call that ended up costing two people their lives and Rialmo his job came in the early hours of December 26, 2015. Rialmo and his partner were sent to the 4700 block of West Erie Street for a domestic disturbance involving the student from Northern Illinois University Quintonio LeGrier and his father

LeGrier was in the midst of a bout of sanity, and his father barricaded himself in his bedroom while young LeGrier attempted to enter with an aluminum bat. LeGrier’s father called his downstairs neighbor, Bettie Jones, 55, and asked her to open the front door for police when he arrived.

When Rialmo and his partner arrived at both apartments, Jones opened the door and motioned to officers that the problem was on the second floor. Rialmo later testified that he stood on the porch of the building, while his partner stood a few feet behind him.

LeGrier ran down the stairs with the bat and kicked Rialmo, who was able to get out of the way. Rialmo then opened fire, fatally hitting LeGrier and Jones. It remains unclear whether Jones was hit by a stray bullet or a bullet that went through LeGrier’s body.

The LeGrier and Jones families sued Rialmo and the city. Before the case went to trial, City Hall settled Jones’ estate for $16 million — one of the biggest settlements the city has ever paid.

A Cook County jury awarded the LeGrier estate $1.05 million after an eight-day trial in 2018, but that was immediately overturned because jurors said LeGrier’s murder was justified.

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