Quintonio LeGrier’s mother speaks out day after judge reverses jury finding

CHICAGO -- The mother of Quintonio LeGrier is speaking out after confusion erupted Wednesday in a Daley Center courtroom after a judge reversed the jury's findings in the wrongful death civil lawsuit against Officer Robert Rialmo.

Janet Cooksey's 19-year-old son was shot and killed on Dec. 26, 2015 by Rialmo. Rialmo testified LeGrier charged at him with a baseball bat and he feared for his safety.

On Wednesday, the jury awarded $1 million in damages, but a judge reversed the findings a short time later. The jury found the shooting was unjustified but also ruled the officer reasonably feared for his life.

The LeGrier estate had asked for between $12.55 million and $25.05 million. The judge's decision means the family will receive no money.

After the ruling, Cooksey said she felt the jury was confused and was not properly instructed by the judge. She said it was never about the money. It was about getting justice for her son, and she is still waiting for that justice. She pledged to keep fighting for justice.

“You know, I lost my child. Robert Rialmo never showed remorse. He didn’t even show remorse for Bettie Jones in his deposition. I was there and he was cocky and very arrogant," she said. “I know my son. He wouldn’t hurt insects, let alone a person.”

Rialmo fatally shot LeGrier and a neighbor, Jones, who was trying to mediate an argument between LeGrier and his father when police responded to multiple 911 calls.

LeGrier called 911 three times early morning on the day he was shot. In court, Rialmo said he did not know LeGrier had called three times asking for help.

“He called for help. Why would he want to attack the help when he thought they were coming for him?” Cooksey said.

The family's attorneys said they are considering their options, and Cooksey said the case is far from over.

“It’s about Robert Rialmo. He has to go. He has shown no remorse," she said.

Attorney Joel Brodsky posted Rialmo's response to Wednesday's decision on his Facebook page.

"I will always regret that I was forced to end the lives of two people, and even being justified does not change the fact that it was a tragedy for everyone, including the people of Chicago, who I only wanted to help and protect," the statement said.

Cooksey said she's afraid of what Rialmo might do back on the job.

"How can he be on the force again?” she said. "He said that the training is a joke. If the training is a joke then you’re a joke on the job. So how can they actually have him on the force again with that type of mentality? That means we're in danger.”

Rialmo is on paid desk duty. The Chicago Police Board has not decided if he should be fired. LeGrier’s mother said the family rejected a settlement offer from the city before trial that was for more than a million dollars.

Jones' family stands to get $16 million in a settlement with the city.