Bettie Jones' family holds vigil 1 year after police-shooting death

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ByEric Horng via WLS logo
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
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Relatives of Bettie Jones, who was accidentally shot and killed by a CPD officer responding to a call at her building, held a vigil for her on the anniversary of her death.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The families of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones hope justice will be served one year after a deadly police shooting.

The 19-year-old man and his 55-year-old neighbor were killed by a Chicago police officer on Dec. 26, 2015.

The LeGrier family said the teen called 911 for help several times and was killed moments after police arrived at the scene in the city's West Garfield Park neighborhood.

Police said LeGrier had been combative, but called Jones' death an accident. Jones opened the door for the police officers responding to the call about LeGrier and police said Officer Robert Rialmo opened fire when he started swinging a baseball bat. Both LeGrier and Jones were shot and killed.

A vigil for Jones was held Monday afternoon at New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. Her relatives said it's bad enough they lost their loved one, but they're also upset that the officer who pulled the trigger is still with the police department and was even allowed back on patrol for a period of time.

Relatives at the vigil dressed in all red, because that was Jones' favorite color.

"It's hard when you lose your mother. Your mother is your everything. And that's exactly what the police took from us: our everything," said Latoya Jones, Bettie's daughter.

The case is still being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority. "Officer Rialmo is still off the streets and that's where he'll remain until we get some kind of resolution," Supt. Eddie Johnson said Monday.

Officer Rialmo was initially placed on desk duty but returned to the streets of Chicago in the summer, only to be put back on desk duty months later. Chicago police said they made an administrative error.

"That is like a real, a slap in the face. They let a killer cop back on the streets,'" Latoya said.

LeGrier's family said he suffered from mental illness and the shooting raised questions about police mental health response. IN the wake of the shooting, the city committed to training more officers and 911 dispatchers in so called "crisis intervention" to deescalate situations involving people with mental illness.

"Most of us realize that Bettie Jones could have been your mother or my mother," said EriC Russell, Tree of Life Justice League of Illinois.

Both she and LeGrier's family have filed wrongful death lawsuits.

The officer who shot them filed his own lawsuit against the estate of LeGrier and the city of Chicago.

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