Mayor Rahm Emanuel deposed in Quintonio LeGrier, Bettie Jones shooting lawsuit

ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Thursday, March 29, 2018
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared in court Thursday for a deposition to explain what he knew about a controversial police shooting.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared in court Thursday for a deposition to explain what he knew about a controversial police shooting.

A judge ordered the release of a letter by the Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson that called that shooting justified Thursday. The judge also ruled that depositions given by Emanuel and Supt. Johnson will remain sealed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel spent more than two-and-a-half hours testifying in a videotaped deposition in a closed courtroom Thursday afternoon.

His deposition is part of the lawsuits filed by the attorneys for the estates of Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier, neighbors who were shot and killed on the west side in 2015 by Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo.

Attorneys for the estates of Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier were expected to ask the mayor about his conversations with the victim's relatives and the police code of silence.

City lawyers fought to keep the Mayor's deposition under seal, so only the parties involved and their attorneys were allowed in the courtroom.

The victims' attorneys decried the mayor's efforts to keep the public out of the courtroom and the deposition under seal-- a motion the judge granted earlier Thursday.

"The mayor said he was committed to transparency in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting, he said, 'We are going to change this culture that we have in the Chicago Police Department we're going to change it we're going to have a transparent and open culture,' but those rules don't apply to him," said Jack Kennedy, the attorney for Quintonio LeGrier's estate.

"There's a protective order entered as to the content and detail of the mayor's deposition, we think it was an appropriate deposition to take. The court agreed. The court allowed the deposition, but at this point, the court has not allowed us to speak about the content or substance of the deposition," said Larry Rogers, Jr., the attorney for Bettie Jones' estate.

Thursday morning a small group of demonstrators gathered outside Chicago Police Headquarters to protest the decision by Supt. Eddie Johnson to exonerate Officer Rialmo. His decision came despite the fact COPA, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, concluded in its investigation that the shootings were not justified.

Bettie Jones' cousin was there because Jones' daughters were too upset.

"They are just disgusted, they don't know what to do with this decision that Supt. Eddie Johnson has made to keep this cop that killed my cousin on the force," said Evelyn Glover, Jones' cousin.

In Supt. Johnson's letter he called the COPA investigation flawed based on 20/20 hindsight, adding, "Based on all of the evidence presented in this case, it is clear that Officer Rialmo's actions were justified and within Department policy."

"For Supt. Eddie Johnson to have exonerated that officer is despicable, it's disgusting and it should not be tolerated, said Larry Rogers Jr., the attorney for Bettie Jones' Estate.

Johnson's letter was 11 pages long. The investigation conducted by COPA and the agency that preceded it, IPRA, was 8,000 pages long according to attorneys.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) determined that Rialmo was unjustified in firing on LeGrier.

Rialmo was one of the officers who responded to a domestic disturbance call at LeGrier's father's West Side home. The officer said that he shot LeGrier when the teen, who reportedly suffered from mental illness, came down the stairs swinging a baseball bat at him.

Jones was an innocent bystander in the building.

The state's attorney found threre was insufficient evidence to bring charges in the shooting and Rialmo remains on desk duty while awaiting a decision on his job.

"We have a vote of no confidence for Supt. Eddie Johnson. The fact that he rejected the COPA findings, we are now forced to reject him," said activist Eric Russell outside of the Daley Center.

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