Judge: Rahm must give sworn deposition in lawsuit over fatal shooting by cop

SHARE Judge: Rahm must give sworn deposition in lawsuit over fatal shooting by cop

Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier. | Provided photos

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be on the hot seat.

A Cook County Judge on Wednesday ordered Emanuel to appear at some point in the next 30 days to offer a sworn deposition in the wrongful death lawsuits brought by the families of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones — who were fatally shot by a Chicago cop.

At a hearing Tuesday before Judge James O’Hara, the date for the deposition will be set.

LeGrier, 19, was wielding a bat in December 2015 when he was shot by Chicago Police officer Robert Rialmo near the front door of his father’s two-flat in West Garfield Park. LeGrier, home on break from Northern Illinois University, suffered a mental health crisis that prompted both him and his father to call for police help.

Jones, a downstairs neighbor, was killed by one of the officer’s errant gunshots.

O’Hara denied a city attorney’s requests to limit to 15 minutes Emanuel’s deposition time.

“He’s the mayor of the third-largest city in the country,” Naomi Avendano, who was representing the city, told Judge O’Hara.

“I’ll make sure it’s reasonable,” O’Hara said.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson will also offer sworn deposition. O’Hara scheduled it for March 15.

The judge is allowing both depositions to be videotaped.

The depositions will not be open to the public but will be admissible at trial.

The case is a sensitive one, especially in the post-Laquan McDonald shooting video era.

And Emanuel has tried to present a warm-hearted face to counter what critics contend have been the cold-hearted legal tactics deployed by city attorneys.

Last month, a city attorney asked LeGrier’s mother if she had worked as a prostitute at the time LeGrier was conceived.

The behavior was “beyond the pale” and has no bearing on the case and is harassment, said attorney Basileios Foutris, who represents the LeGrier estate and and filed a motion seeking sanctions over the incident — specifically asking the judge to not allow city attorneys to further question LeGrier’s parents again at trial.

O’Hara has not ruled on the matter and on Wednesday ordered city attorneys to submit a written response within 28 days.

Another unflattering legal maneuver unfolded about three months ago when the city sought to countersue the LeGrier estate in an attempt to shift blame and financial liability for Jones’ death.

The effort drew ire from Emanuel who issued an apology and claimed he was unaware of the “callous” measure, which was ultimately dropped.

Emanuel will face questions about the behavior of the city’s attorneys and why officers who arrived on the scene weren’t carrying tasers that could have provided a non-lethal option of force, Foutris said.

Foutris also said he will question Emanuel about a “Code of Silence” that hangs over the case. Foutris specifically questioned why paramedics and the Cook County medical examiner’s office were not immediately made aware the shooting involved a police officer.

And Foutris said he plans to ask Emanuel if the changing accounts provided by paramedics passes the smell test. Accounts given to investigators one month after the shooting differ from information the paramedics offered two weeks ago during sworn depositions.

The position of the bodies of Jones and LeGreier changed, said Jack Kennedy, who’s also representing the LeGrier estate and seeking to only allow the initial account be heard at trial, which is set for June.

Kennedy suggested their testimony changed after speaking with city attorneys.

Also hanging in the balance is Supt. Eddie Johnson’s decision on how to handle any disciplinary measures regarding Rialmo — the officer who pulled the trigger.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability found the shooting was not justified and recommended Johnson fire him.

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