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Policeman sues estate of teenager he shot dead

ByHarriet Alexander in New York

A CHICAGO policeman who shot and killed a 19-year-old student is suing the youth’s estate for $10 million (£6.9million), claiming emotional distress.

Robert Rialmo was called to Quintonio LeGrier’s house on Boxing Day after reports of a disturbance.

He was attacked by Mr LeGrier with a baseball bat and opened fire, killing the teenager and accidentally shooting dead a neighbour, Bettie Jones, 55.

A lawyer for Mr LeGrier’s estate said that the legal action was “nonsense” and “pure fantasy”.

“It’s a new low for the Chicago police department,” said Basileios Foutris. “First you shoot them, then you sue them. I can’t believe that this police officer has the temerity to turn around and sue the estate of the person he killed.”

An investigation is under way. Mr Rialmo, described by his lawyer, Joel Brodsky, as a white Chicagonative in his 20s, is on desk duty.

Mr Brodsky said the officer was justified in firing his gun, and blamed both deaths on Mr LeGrier’s actions.

The lawsuit describes the teenager’s actions as “atrocious” and says they caused Mr Rialmo “extreme emotional trauma”. “Facts are a stubborn thing,” said Mr Brodsky.

“This whole horrible event was the result of Quintonio LeGrier trying to take my client’s head off with an aluminium baseball bat.”

Mr Rialmo’s suit is a counterclaim to a lawsuit filed by Mr LeGrier’s family. Ms Jones’s family has also begun an action against Mr Rialmo.

The LeGrier lawsuit alleges that the teenager posed no threat when Mr Rialmo shot him, while the Jones lawsuit says that Mr Rialmo fired an indiscriminate “hail of bullets” in her general direction.

The shooting took place amid heightened tension over the use of force by Chicago police against minorities. Protesters have called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation following several incidents, most notably the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager by a white police officer.

That killing, captured on video, led to first-degree murder charges against the officer, Jason Van Dyke.

The mayor sacked his police superintendent in response and called for improved training for police.

Chicago is experiencing a wave of gun violence, which the authorities say is mainly gang based. Last year 3,000 people were murdered in the city.

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