Janet Cooksey has been waiting for years for answers surrounding her son’s death at the hands of a Chicago police officer.
“I’m just tired of not getting truth and not getting justice,” she said Monday.
But there’s one question in particular she’s hoping to have an answer to soon: Was the officer who shot and killed her son after Christmas in 2015 justified?
It’s a question that has divided Chicago officials and police oversight investigators.
Just days ago, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he believed Officer Robert Rialmo was justified when he shot and killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier while responding to an apartment complex in the 4700 block of West Erie Street. LeGrier, the officer said, was armed with a bat at the time. The shooting also resulted in the death of innocent bystander 55-year-old Bettie Jones.
Police oversight investigators have ruled that no evidence backed up Rialmo's story that he was prompted to shoot when LeGrier swung a bat while running at him.
“Johnson's decision, I'd have to say, he couldn't possibly have read the report because if he had, he wouldn't possibly have made decision that he did,” Cooksey said.
In a written statement, Johnson said the investigation must address the question of whether an officer, making a split-second decision in tense, uncertain circumstances, acted reasonably.
His letter to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability stated Rialmo’s actions were “justified and within the department policy.”
“The way I came to that decision was not being pressured by political or public entities,” he said. “It was simply looking at the law, looking at department policy and our general orders.”
On Monday, Johnson urged community members to trust the process.
“Everyone involved in process deserves for us to look at it fairly and objectively and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.
Johnson must now work with COPA to try and reach an agreement. If not, then one member of the Chicago Police Board will be the one to decide if the entire police board will hold hearings on the case.
Rialmo was stripped of his police powers after being involved in a bar fight in January, but he remained on paid desk duty.