Cop who shot Jones, LeGrier charged with battery, theft after December fight

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Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo. | Sun-Times file photo

The Chicago Police officer who fatally shot Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier turned himself in Monday after he was charged with battery and theft in connection with a fight at a Northwest Side restaurant last month.

Robert Rialmo was charged with two counts of battery and one count of theft – all misdemeanors – according to Chicago Police. The charges were first reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Rialmo turned himself in at the CPD’s 1st District station in the South Loop Monday and was released on his own recognizance, according to police. He is scheduled to appear in court next on March 1.

The charges stemmed from a fight that occurred at Moretti’s Ristorante and Pizzeria on the Northwest Side on Dec. 17, according to police. Rialmo is alleged to have punched two men in the face. The theft charge was brought because Rialmo allegedly took the jacket of one of the men he hit.

Rialmo, who left the scene before police arrived, was stripped of his police powers after the fight, according to the department.

His lawyer, Joel Brodsky, did not respond to request for comment.

In a text message to a Chicago Sun-Times reporter, Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Martin Preib said: “We haven’t had a chance to see the video or the paperwork or review COPA’s investigation and do not want to comment until we do so. However, we remain steadfast in rejecting COPA’s ruling that the 2015 shooting was not justified.”

Earlier this month, the Sun-Times reported that Chicago’s Police oversight agency recommended Rialmo be fired for the “unjustified” fatal shootings of LeGrier and Jones two years ago on the West Side.

Andrea Kersten, deputy chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, made the recommendation to Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson in a Dec. 22, 2017, letter obtained by the Sun-Times.

“COPA has sustained allegations against Officer Rialmo for his unjustified use of deadly force and his failure to maintain his Taser certification,” Kersten wrote.

“COPA’s recommended discipline is SEPARATION as a result of these sustained allegations. COPA believes that this is a fair and reasonable result based on the totality of the circumstances.”

The oversight agency found “no evidence” that any of the shots Rialmo fired at 19-year-old LeGrier were necessary,according to a report released last week. Jones, 55, was killed by one of the officer’s errant gunshots in the Dec. 26, 2015, encounter.

COPA investigators also found that Rialmo’s Taser qualification, which Chicago Police officers must complete every year, had been expired for more than a year leading up to the shooting.

Johnson has until late March to decide what level of discipline — if any — to recommend to the Chicago Police Board, which metes out punishment in officer misconduct cases.

Rialmo has been reassigned to desk duty since the shooting, continuing to collect his $84,054 salary.

Quintonio LeGrier was staying at his father’s two-flat in West Garfield Park while on break from Northern Illinois University in late December 2015. LeGrier suffered a mental health crisis that prompted both of them to call for police help.

Jones, a tenant in the building at 4710 W. Erie, answered the door to Rialmo and his partner, Anthony LaPalermo.

Rialmo’s statements about what happened next were “inconsistent and ultimately unreliable,” according to COPA’s report.

Soon after the shooting, Rialmo told police Det. Daniel Jensen that LeGrier came charging down the stairs with a bat over his head, forcing him to shoot “in fear of his life” from just a few feet away, the report said.

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