File this one under the shameful and morally reprehensible. As though gunning down Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones wasn’t enough, after 911 operators failed to respond three times to LeGrier’s calls for help, the Chicago officer responsible is now suing LeGrier’s family for ’emotional distress.’
Say that again? A cop responds to an emergency 911 call for help armed to the teeth and with zero interest in deescalation then has the nerve to turn around and blame the firestorm of outrage directed at him on the deceased victim’s grieving foster mother?
LeGrier was shot six times by Officer Rialto, even though the young boy was the one who had called the police in the first place. He had called 911 three times in three minutes, but dispatchers kept hanging up on him.
Larry Rogers Jr., an attorney representing the family of Bettie Jones, the 55 year-old neighbor and community organizer that Rialto also fatally shot that night, has demanded to see the names of these dispatchers so that they are held accountable for their own criminal negligence.
“For them to hang up on him, we want to know what that call taker was thinking,” Rogers said. “How could she possibly think that was the proper way to handle someone who was in need of police assistance?”
Meantime, the attorney for Officer Robert Rialmo, Joel Brodsky, says he’ll be filing a counter claim against the estate of Quintonio LeGrier, because LeGrier, attacked the officer. The suit will be filed on the grounds of assault and emotional distress.
While all unarmed fatalities are tragic and represent a failure on the officer’s part to competently deescalate a situation, the most heartbreaking part of this story is that LeGrier was a rare success story within foster care systems in Chicago and the country at large. By all accounts from those who knew him well, he was a bright young man who had overcome adversity and was heading to college to study engineering.
While LeGrier did suffer from some mental health issues resulting from being abused by his mother when he was a toddler, he went on to enjoy a 12-year stay with his foster mother, Mary Strenger.
“He wasn’t a problem child. He never got in trouble. He stayed in his books,” Strenger said.
This only changes when good law enforcement officers begin speaking out and holding their fellow officers accountable. We do not have footage of this case, so unfortunately we will never have the precise evidence necessary to indict this officer for his failure to protect life\.
We do, however, know without question and without any hesitation, that a 911 call involving two unarmed victims should not end fatally, and for an officer to redirect the circumstances of their death back to his own “pain” is nothing short of disgusting.