CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago police officer responding to a domestic disturbance in 2015 said he knew a woman was standing close to a bat-wielding teen when he opened fire, killing both.
The family of 55-year-old Bettie Jones filed a court motion arguing that Officer Robert Rialmo's acknowledgment during a deposition, along with other evidence and testimony, amounts to an admission of legal liability, the Chicago Tribune reported .
The family argues that its lawsuit should proceed to trial to determine how much money should be awarded to Jones' survivors.
Rialmo's lawyer, Joel Brodsky, said the stipulation reflects the facts of the case and his client was nonetheless justified in shooting at Quintonio LeGrier. Rialmo said in a sworn deposition that LeGrier swung the bat at him, causing him to fear for his life.
"The blame is on LeGrier, not on Rialmo," Brodsky said.
Rialmo said during the deposition that he knew Jones was nearby when he opened fire. The officer also acknowledged he did not give Jones any warning or opportunity to move out of danger.
"Did you take any steps whatsoever to ensure that Bettie Jones, an innocent person, was not at risk of injury or harm from the firing of your weapon?" a lawyer asked.
"I didn't have time to," Rialmo answered.
The shooting occurred about a month after a video was released showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in McDonald's death.
LeGrier and Jones were black. Rialmo also is black.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates shootings by Chicago police officers, has yet to rule on whether the shooting was justified under department policy. Cook County prosecutors in February declined to press criminal charges in the case. Rialmo remains on the police force on paid desk duty.