Chicago Police

‘Not Necessary' For Cop Who Fired Fatal Shots to Attend Trial, Attorney Says

Despite having to leave the courtroom a number of times Monday, Janet Cooksey says she plans to sit through as much of this trial as she can.

"She is determined she is going to stick it through this trial because this is important," attorney James Montgomery said. "This is her son’s life. This is her opportunity to get justice."

Justice, her attorneys say, for the December 2015 shootings that claimed the life of her son, Quintonio Legrier and downstairs neighbor Bettie Jones.

Chicago police Officer Robert Rialmo admits to firing the fatal shots but says he only did so because Legrier lunged at him with a baseball bat.

"This is a combat situation," Rialmo's attorney Joel Brodsky said. "This guy is making a life or death decision in a matter of a half a second, and they are asking him: 'where exactly were your feet placed?' It's very irrelevant."

But in their opening statements, Legrier’s attorneys argued that Rialmo fired from outside, near the sidewalk, striking Legrier and Jones who were inside the building.

The police officer who has since been placed on desk duty was not in court Monday.

Montgomery said it was "very uncommon" that Rialmo didn't make an appearance.

"Generally the person representing the defendant in cases like this wants the defendant to be present," he said. "Especially in a police case. Jurors tend to favor police officers, therefore you tend to want to have them there to be seen."

But Brodsky, who is countersuing the Legrier estate for emotional distress, and the city of Chicago for failing to train Rialmo him adequately, says his client will be here when the plaintiffs call on him to testify.

Otherwise, he says Rialmo will stay home.

"It's not necessary for him to be here and I don’t want him here," he said.

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