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Cop Who Killed 2 & Sued City Over Poor Training Was Put Back On Patrol

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Nov 18, 2016 6:36PM

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: Janet Cooksey speaks to the press about the death of her son Quintonio LeGrier before the start of a vigil on December 27, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Chicago Police Officer who fatally shot a black teen and a grandmother last Christmas during a domestic disturbance has been continuing to patrol and make arrests for the department since July, according to a Chicago Tribune investigation.

The cop, Robert Rialmo, was placed on desk duty for 30 days following the fatal shootings, which were termed "an accident" by the police department. After the 30 days, the department said it would extend his desk duty indefinitely while continuing to investigate the shootings. Rialmo's place on the police force was called into question after an unusual lawsuit he filed against the city earlier this year claimed that he was improperly trained by the department to perform his policing duties.

Rialmo was one of several police officers who responded to 911 calls about a teen wielding a bat in an apartment building in the 4700 block of West Erie Street on Dec. 27. There, he fatally shot a 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who was allegedly wielding a baseball bat, and his neighbor, 55-year-old Bettie Jones. Jones was not involved in the disturbance but happened to open her front door when the police officer began shooting, according to reports. In the wake of the shooting, which was called "an accident" by the department, LeGrier's family has sued the city, calling the killing motivated by racism, and Rialmo has sued both LeGrier's estate and the city.

The Tribune reports that Rialmo was removed from desk duty over the summer and placed on a citywide patrol unit, where he made or assisted in 10 arrests this year. Rialmo's summer mobile unit had been created by Superintendent Eddie Johnson to address violence and gang conflicts at the city's parks and beaches and in high-crime neighborhoods.

Police officials told the Tribune that his redeployment was caused by an "administrative error." The mistake was caught in late October and Rialmo was placed back on paid desk duty, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Tribune.

Joel Brodsky, Rialmo's attorney, says Rialmo is fit to be back on the streets, and that the department did not in fact place him in a patrol unit by mistake:

Before Rialmo went back to full duty, he completed classroom work and was cleared by a psychologist, he said.

Though scarred by the shooting, Brodsky said, Rialmo is not "falling to pieces" and belongs back on the street. Furthermore, his lack of training doesn't differentiate him from most officers in a department that has offered little training to officers after the academy, he said.

"He's got the same training every other officer on the street has," Brodsky said. "It's not like he's inadequately trained and everybody else is (well-trained)."