For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you— Matthew 7:2. Also see W. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure (1604).
Many of us have heard the expression that “turnabout is fair play.” Every now and then it happens in the good guys’ favor.
On December 26, 2015, at approximately 4:25 a.m., Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo responded to a call of a “domestic disturbance – son with baseball bat” at an apartment building in the city. Upon arriving the officer was confronted by one Quintonio LeGrier, who was armed with a baseball bat. LeGrier failed to obey Rialmo’s lawful order to drop the bat, but instead swung the bat in the direction of the officer’s head several times. Rialmo reasonably feared LeGrier would kill him with the bat, drew his handgun, and fired it multiple times, killing LeGrier. Unfortunately, one Bettie Jones, a resident of the apartments, who was behind LeGrier and out of Rialmo’s line of sight, was struck and also killed by one of the bullets meant for LeGrier.
Per Chicago Police Department policy, Rialmo was placed on administrative duty pending the investigation. It appears that investigation is still pending, but it appears to Rialmo’s acts were entirely justified by the known facts.
Antonio LeGrier, LeGrier’s father, and administrator of his estate, filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago and Rialmo alleging a claim for wrongful death. Normally, that would play out in the civil courts. More often than not, because such suits are politically volatile, municipalities pay a settlement amount to get rid of them, regardless of merit.
Rialmo, apparently not one to take this lying down, this past Friday filed a countersuit against LeGrier’s estate and its administrator alleging damages of $10 million for civil assault, intentional, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The basis of Rialmo’s allegations is the LeGrier’s acts, which could have caused or serious bodily injury, forced him to shoot and kill LeGrier to defend himself. Furthermore, in the act of self defense, Rialmo accidently shot and killed Jones.
No doubt this turn of events will cause great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Antonio LeGrier’s lawyer has already denounced Rialmo’s counterclaim. No telling what the Chicago officials, from the mayor on down, are thinking or how they will respond.
An educated guess is that Rialmo will probably not gain pecuniarily from the suit. LeGrier’s “estate” probably has nothing, and his father, as administrator, probably would not be personally liable to Rialmo. Not being familiar with the details and nuances of Illinois law, it is not clear to me that the proceeds from a wrongful death claim would be property of the estate. If it is, and a recovery against Chicago—by judgment or settlement—would be subject to Rialmo’s claim by net recovery or offset. In Texas, there are certain classes of persons—spouses, parents, children—who have a wrongful death claim in their own right, and any recovery would belong to them and not the estate.
The salutary effect of Rialmo’s counterclaim might be to put a damper on lawsuits against cities and police officers for justifiably using deadly force in the course of their duties. Police officers in this country are put into danger daily—in situations where the vast majority of lay-persons would never be. Police officers cannot retreat if they are to enforce the peace and protect the citizenry.
Perhaps other officers will now follow Rialmo and, countersue in similar situations. It’s time those officers and the pusillanimous bureaucrats who employ them stop rolling over in these situations.
Regardless of how this litigation plays out, Robert Rialmo has already shown that blue lives matter, and will continue to do so.
For more see: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-robert-rialmo-quintonio-legrier-20160206-story.html
This article contains an image of Robert Rialmo’s counterclaim, as filed, in its entirety.