CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago police officer who fatally shot a college student and his neighbor while responding to a domestic disturbance in 2015 won’t be charged, prosecutors announced Friday
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement there is “insufficient evidence” to prove Officer Robert Rialmo didn’t act in self-defense when he shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who Rialmo said charged at him with a baseball bat, and 55-year-old Bettie Jones, whose shooting the department has called an accident.
The shooting was investigated by the city agency that oversees police misconduct, the FBI and the Illinois State Police. It happened about a month after a video was released showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in McDonald’s death.
In the December 2015 shootings of LeGrier and Jones, Rialmo and his partner were responding to at least one 911 call about a domestic disturbance involving LeGrier and his father.
According to Rialmo’s initial account, Jones answered the door and pointed the officers to an upstairs apartment. As she turned to walk back to her unit, LeGrier allegedly emerged from the doorway brandishing a bat over his head.
Rialmo said he drew his weapon while backing down the stairs as he ordered LeGrier to drop the bat. He said he was in fear of his life when he fired at least three times, hitting LeGrier in the chest.
Rialmo said when he checked on LeGrier, he discovered Jones lying on her back.
“The purpose of the review was solely to examine whether the conduct of Officer Rialmo was unlawful,” prosecutors said in their statement. “The state’s attorney’s review specifically does not address issues related to tactics, whether Officer Rialmo followed police procedures, whether he should be subject to discipline, his employment status, or the merits of any civil litigation.”
Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings, has said LeGrier called 911 three times asking them to send police before he was fatally shot by Rialmo.
“I need the police,” LeGrier said in a recording of one call. The father of the Northern Illinois University student also made a 911 call.