Use of Force Expert Testifies in LeGrier Shooting Case

Emmanuel Kapelsohn is an expert in police use of force. He testified Friday that officer Robert Rialmo, although he did not have non-lethal tools at his disposal, still did the right thing when he shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier in the vestibule of his fathers home on West Erie Street.

He says officers are trained to respond with deadly force when confronted with deadly force.

Rialmo admits to firing the shots in 2015 that killed Legrier and downstairs neighbor Bettie Jones, but maintains that he only did so because Legrier lunged at him with a baseball bat. Legrier‘s family filed the lawsuit against the city.

In this case, Kapelsohn said, it would have been inappropriate to use an asp or police baton like the one Rialmo had left in his pack.

“The officer has to get close enough that is in range of the baseball bat it’s not the way police are trained to use a baton,” Kapelsohn said.

Officers, he said, are trained not to risk their lives that way unnecessarily.

Kapelsohn also said that a Taser would also have been inappropriate because this was a deadly force situation. He told the jury about an officer only gets one shot with a Taser and if he misses he could be subject to being hurt.

The plaintiffs in this case argue that Rialmo’s use of force was not justified. They say he should not have been in fear for his life when he fired seven shots toward LeGrier killing him and innocent bystander Jones.

Under cross-examination, Kapelsohn admitted that he had never attended a police academy, never filed an arrest report, and never discharged a weapon while employed as a police officer. He also said he’s involved in nine other cases involving the city of Chicago.

Friday‘s starwitness was supposed to be Janet Cooksey–LeGrier‘s mother. Although she has been in the courtroom for the entire trial, she was not present Friday.

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