April 29, 1996
December 26, 2015
Age at Death:
Mr. LaGrier was described by his mother as "... a loving person. He was a respectful person. Just remembering who he was as a person, that makes me smile." Mr. LeGrier was in his second year of college, at Northern Illinois University, when he was killed. He wanted to be an electrical engineer. His mother said morals were very important to her son.
The fatal police shooting of Mr. LeGrier, a black university student in mental distress, sparked controversy in 2015, especially as there was a second fatality of a bystander struck when a Chicago police officer opened fire. In the early morning hours of December 26, 2015, Antonio LeGrier called police, saying that his 19-year-old son, Quintonio, who was staying in his father’s apartment, “freaked out” and was holding a baseball bat. Quintonio himself had also called 911 several times that night, telling dispatchers that there was an emergency and that he needed the police. Two of those calls came before his father dialed 911, and were dismissed by dispatchers, a third was made shortly before police arrived. When two police officers arrived at the apartment, the younger Mr. LeGrier quickly appeared in front of them, swinging an aluminum bat at an officer almost striking him, forcing the officer to move back. The officer then fired at the teenager, striking him several times, with some of the bullets hitting him from behind. One of those shots hit and killed another Mr. LeGrier's 55 year old neighbor Bettie Jones who let the police into the apartment building (police ended up settling a wrongful death suit with the Jones’ family for $16 million).
Was justice served?
No. The officer was dismissed from the police force, but not until 2019. The family argues police did not try to escalate the situation first. Further, the officer's partner does not recall seeing Mr. LeGrier swinging a baseball bat at the shooting officer. The June, 2018 verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by LeGrier’s father added to an already controversial event, after a judge reversed a settlement given to the man’s family. A jury ruled that while the shooting was unjustified, the Chicago police officer who killed Mr. LaGrier reasonably feared for his life when he began firing at Mr. LeGrier. The jury also awarded the teenager’s family $1 million in damages, far less than the $25 million the family sought. But Judge Rena Marie Van Tine reversed the award, determining that because the jury’s ruling found that the officer had reacted out of a reasonable fear, the man’s family could not be awarded money. Note in 2017, the officer who shot Mr. LaGrier filed a lawsuit against the LaGrier's estate (extreme emotional trauma to the officer) and the police department (alleging he was "inadequately trained"). This lawsuit was later withdrawn.