Documents show the officer involved in the fatal shooting of Quintonio LeGrier changed his account of what happened during the incident.
An hour an a half after the fatal police shooting of the 19-year-old, police reports show Officer Robert Rialmo told detectives "LeGrier had an aluminum baseball bat in his hands which were raised above his head." When LeGrier refused to drop it, Rialmo said he opened fire fearing for his life, offering no further details about the bat.
But records of Rialmo’s interview on Dec. 28th -- two days later -- show him adding a new detail: he said, "Legrier swung the baseball bat with an overhand downward swing and then a half backwards swing." The documents also say Rialmo's partner never saw LeGrier swinging the bat - not the day it happened, and not in any subsequent interviews.
Bettie Jones was also fatally shot while police responded to the incident involving her neighbor on Dec. 26 in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood. Rialmo hasn't been charged in the deaths.
An attorney for LeGrier’s family, who's filed a wrongful death lawsuit, said Rialmo added that detail to justify the shooting.
“That is the most important fact in all of this. And he didn't say a word about it. He didn't come up with that until two days later,” said Basileios Foutris, who represents LeGrier's father.
Foutris said if LeGrier did swing the bat, it should've been disclosed in the very first interview.
“He says nothing at all about Quintonio LeGrier swinging a bat at him. Neither does his partner,” Foutris said.
But Officer Rialmo’s attorney said the change wasn’t significant, saying in ongoing investigations it's very common for new details to emerge.
“While it may have been an important detail, it wasn't an important detail for what the detective was trying to figure out at the first instance,” attorney Joel Broadsky said.
LeGrier’s mom said the officer's changing story raises serious questions.
“For him to change his story two days later? How do you not say if someone tried to strike you with a bat? That would be like one of the first things you would say,” said LeGrier’s mom Janet Cooksey.