Chicago policeman sues estate of teen he fatally shot

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Chicago Officer Sues Victim's Family, Claiming Trauma

NEW YORK, Feb 7 (Reuters) - A Chicago policeman who fatally shot a 19-year-old college student and accidentally killed a 55-year-old grandmother in the same incident has sued the teenager's estate, blaming him for prompting the shooting and causing the officer emotional distress.

Officer Robert Rialmo filed a countersuit on Friday against the estate of Quintonio LeGrier, a black college student, in state court in Chicago. The complaint accused LeGrier of attacking Rialmo with a baseball bat in late December, forcing him to use his gun to save his own life.

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One of the bullets passed through LeGrier's arm and struck his neighbor, Bettie Jones, in the chest in what police have described as an accident. Jones was also black. Rialmo is a white officer.

The shooting came during heightened tensions over the use of force by Chicago police against minorities. Protesters have called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's resignation following several high-profile incidents, most notably a white police officer's fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

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Chicago policeman sues estate of teen he fatally shot
Protesters hold placards against the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in Manhattan, New York, U.S., July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Bria Webb
People take part in a protest against the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile during a march in New York July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, file photo, a protester holds a sign as people rally for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Department Officer Jason Van Dyke in Chicago. McDonald, whose name demonstrators are shouting as they march the streets and plan to shut down the cityâs glitziest shopping corridor on Friday, lived a troubled life full of disadvantages and at least one previous brush with the law. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)
In this frame grab image made from an Oct. 12, 2014 video released by Chicago Police Department, Ronald Johnson, right, is seen running from police officers just a second before he was shot by an officer. Prosecutors say a Chicago police officer will not be charged in the shooting of the 25-year-old black man who authorities said was armed with a gun as he ran away from officers. (Chicago Police Department via AP)
Matthew White protests the shooting death of Michael Brown by police nearly a week ago Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A suburban St. Louis police chief on Friday identified the officer whose fatal shooting ignited days of heated protests, and released documents alleging the teen was killed after a robbery in which he was suspected of stealing a box of cigars. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
CORRECTS THE ID OF THE MALE ON POSTER TO TAMIR RICE - Tomiko Shine holds up a picture of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy fatally shot on Nov. 22 by a rookie police officer, during a protest in response to a grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo. to not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Protesters across the U.S. have walked off their jobs or away from classes in support of the Ferguson protesters. Rice's death has also sparked community demonstrations against police shootings. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
FILE - In this July 19, 2015 file photo from a body camera video provided by the University of Cincinnati Campus Police, university Officer Ray Tensing stands next to motorist Samuel DuBose during a traffic stop for a missing front license plate in Cincinnati. DuBose was fatally shot by the officer after a struggle ensued when he refused to provide a driver's license and get out of the car. Tensing was indicted Wednesday, July 29 on a murder charge. (University of Cincinnati Campus Police via AP, File)
Muhiydin D'Baha leads a group protesting the shooting death of Walter Scott at city hall in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Scott was killed by a North Charleston police office after a traffic stop on Saturday. The officer, Michael Thomas Slager, has been charged with murder. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A protestor carries a casket-shaped sign that reads "Justice for Antonio Zambrano Montes" as she takes part in a protest against recent shootings of unarmed civilians by police Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in Seattle. Zambrano-Montes was shot Feb. 10, 2015, by police in Pasco, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2014 file photo, demonstrators participate in a rally against a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, in New York. In the days since grand juries in Missouri and New York decided against indicting white police officers in the deaths of black men, protesters nationwide have demanded a reckoning and an acknowledgement that âblack lives matter.â Yet so far, there are few signs such a conversation will come in the place where it might most make a difference: the next campaign for president. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - This undated photo released by his sister Javille Burns shows Jamar Clark. Clark was involved in a Nov. 15 confrontation with police and died later. Officers said Clark was shot after a struggle. Others say Clark was handcuffed. His death sparked weeks of protests.(Jamar Clark/Javille Burns via AP, File)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Demonstrators march through the streets protesting the Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner in July on December 6, 2014 in New York City. Protests are being staged nationwide after grand juries investigating the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York failed to indict the police officers involved in both incidents. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A protest sign showing and image of Ezell Ford as members of the 'Black Lives Matter' alliance stage protest outside the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's home as they try to force him to fire LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck, in Los Angeles, California on June 7, 2015. The alliance have renewed protests after a recent report from an LAPD watchdog determined that the August 11, 2014 officer-involved shooting death of 25-year-old Ezell Ford in South Central was justified. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors stand outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this undated photo provided by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, Najee Rivera is shown. Philadelphia Police Office Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson face brutality charges after prosecutors say they knocked a Rivera off a scooter and beat him so severely another officer thought the bloodied man had been shot. McKnight and Robinson were charged Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 with assault, criminal conspiracy and reckless endangerment. They're also charged with lying about the May 2013 incident. (AP Photo/Philadelphia District Attorney's Office)
Two men are detained near Pioneer Court on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Chicago. Community activists and labor leaders held a demonstration billed as a "march for justice" in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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That killing, captured on video, led to first-degree murder charges against the officer, Jason Van Dyke.

The mayor ousted his police superintendent in response and called for improved training for police officers. The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the department.

Rialmo's counterclaim came in response to a lawsuit filed by LeGrier's family. Jones' family has also filed a lawsuit against Rialmo over the shooting.

Those lawsuits offer very different accounts of the shooting. The LeGrier lawsuit alleges he posed no threat when Rialmo shot him, while the Jones lawsuit says Rialmo fired an indiscriminate "hail of bullets" in her general direction.

A lawyer for LeGrier's family did not immediately return a request for comment on Sunday. Joel Brodsky, a lawyer for Rialmo, said the officer was justified in firing his gun and blamed both LeGrier's and Jones' deaths on LeGrier's actions.

"Facts are a stubborn thing," Brodsky said, quoting U.S. founding father John Adams. "This whole horrible event was the result of Quintonio LeGrier trying to take my client's head off with an aluminum baseball bat."

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