Days After Bar Fight Acquittal, Chicago Police Officer Involved in Another Altercation

Officer Robert Rialmo has been on administrative duty since he fatally shot two people in December 2015

What to Know

  • Officer Robert Rialmo was involved in a bar fight on Chicago's Northwest Side early Friday, police confirmed
  • The altercation took place three days after he was found not guilty on charges stemming from a bar fight in December
  • Rialmo has been on desk duty since he fatally shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones in late 2015

Three days after he was found not guilty on charges stemming from a bar fight, a Chicago police officer - who was also the subject of a lawsuit over the 2015 fatal shooting of a teen and grandmother - was involved in another altercation at a bar early Friday, police confirmed. 

Officer Robert Rialmo was one of the people involved in a scuffle at Teaser's Pub, a bar located in the 7100 block of West Higgins Avenue in the city's Norwood Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. 

Guglielmi said Rialmo was at the bar when there was an encounter in which patrons thought he was someone else and an argument ensued, resulting in beer being spilled onto Rialmo. 

Rialmo's attorney Joel Brodsky said the officer was "accosted by two Conservative Vice Lord street gang members," but police did not confirm that information. 

A scuffle took place inside the bar and Rialmo and the others involved were kicked out, Guglielmi said. Those who were kicked out ended up at the nearby Taco Burrito King, and another confrontation took place on the street outside the restaurant, he said. 

There's still a dispute as to who hit whom in the altercation, officials said - an element that Chicago police are still investigating. As of Friday morning, all participants were being considered "mutual combatants" and they were each questioned but no arrests were made. 

Guglielmi said for the time being, everyone involved was listed as a victim and was cooperating with police as they sort through evidence, including surveillance images and possible cell phone video of the incident. 

"The gang members were flashing gang signs and shouting gang slogans. When Bob tried to walk away they followed him and tried to stop him by pushing him back," Brodsky said in a statement. "One gangster charged at Officer Rialmo and was swiped to the side by Rialmo. Then the other gangster started taunting Bobby and started taking cell phone video. Bob tried to stop the gangster from taking his picture. Rialmo called 911 and the gangsters ran off."

Rialmo underwent a breathalyzer test, according to Guglielmi, who said he blew a zero. It was unclear if charges would be filed as the investigation remained ongoing. The investigation may be turned over to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, he added. 

On Tuesday, Rialmo was acquitted on two counts of misdemeanor battery over another bar fight that took place in December.

In that incident at another Northwest Side bar, Rialmo got into a dispute over a jacket with two other people at around 2:45 a.m. as the bar was closing. Prosecutors argued that Rialmo made an unprovoked attack on the men, while his attorney said he was defending himself when he punched them in the face.

Rialmo was not on duty at the time of that altercation, and had been on desk duty since late December 2015, when he fatally shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones on the city's West Side.

COPA found that Rialmo was "not justified" in using deadly force, with investigators saying in a report that they found "no evidence" to support his claim that the shots fired were necessary, calling his statements "inconsistent and ultimately unreliable."

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson rejected COPA's findings and declined to recommend Rialmo's firing to the Chicago Police Board. In an initial hearing, a Chicago Police Board member ruled that a hearing before the full police board was necessary to determine Rialmo's future on the force. He remains on paid desk duty - though he was briefly returned to patrols through an administrative mistake in June 2016 - and has been stripped of his police powers.

Both LeGrier's and Jones' families filed wrongful death lawsuits against the city of Chicago and Rialmo, who counter-sued LeGrier's family, claiming that he only fired because the teen lunged at him with a baseball bat.

Jones' family settled its suit with the city, while a jury ruled in favor of the LeGrier family suit. The jury awarded more than $1 million in damages to LeGrier's family, but the judge signed an order negating that payout.

It was not clear if charges would be filed in Thursday's incident. Further details were not immediately available.

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