Community leaders question COPA over fatal police shooting of Quintonio LeGrier, Bettie Jones

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Community leaders had some tough questions for members of Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, during a meeting Tuesday. (WLS)

Community leaders expressed their frustration Tuesday about the slow pace of justice for Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones, who were shot by a Chicago police officer the day after Christmas in 2015.

They questioned representatives with Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the city's newest police oversight agency, about why Robert Rialmo, the officer responsible for the shootings, was still on the force. LeGrier, 19, and Jones, 55, was injured in the shooting.

"Why should he have a gun and a badge," said Rev. Marshall Hatch with Leaders Network.

In December, COPA determined that the shooting was unjustified, casting doubt on Rialmo's account of the events.

"The most important thing is we want you to have trust in process, that as an agency, we're independent," said COPA Deputy Chief Administrator Mia Sissa.

The agency has recommended the five year veteran of the department, who's already been placed on paid desk duty, be fired pending the results of an investigation.
According to a department spokesperson, Superintendent Eddie Johnson now has 90 days to decide what, if any, disciplinary action he might seek from the Chicago Police Board.

Meanwhile, some church leaders are calling on Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx to rethink charging the cop with murder.

"If it was going to be business as usual, we could have kept Anita Alvarez," said Rev. Ira Acree, Leaders Network Co-Chair.

Earlier, in a statement, Cook County State's Attorney's Office spokesperson Tandra Simonton said, "After a review of the admissible evidence, there was insufficient evidence for criminal charges."

Rialmo's union, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, remained critical of the COPA ruling.

On their blog, the FOP accuses COPA of using a recent bar fight Rialmo was allegedly involved in to pressure CPD into firing him.

Meanwhile, some community members are discouraged by the slow pace of justice.

"I don't know if I buy it or not," said Chicago resident Alice Norris.

Several lawsuits have been filed by both the LeGrier and Jones families against the city and Officer Rialmo.

Rialmo also filed a lawsuit against the city alleging improper training and against the LeGrier estate blaming him for the shooting and emotionally traumatizing the cop.

While those suits work their way through the system, it could take close to six months before the fate of Officer Rialmo is determined by the police board and others.

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copafatal shootingpolice-involved shootingchicago police department
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