Ald. Sposato kicks in $100 to CPD Officer Robert Rialmo’s defense fund

SHARE Ald. Sposato kicks in $100 to CPD Officer Robert Rialmo’s defense fund

Ald. Nick Sposato | Sun-Times file photo

The GoFundMe campaign set up as a legal defense fund for Chicago Police officer Robert Rialmo has raised more than $6,000 of its $50,000 goal in less than a week.

Among the 112 donors so far: Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), who kicked in $100 last Friday.

GoFundMe allows donors to give money anonymously if they prefer, but Sposato said he put his name on his money in the hopes that others would follow suit.

“Hopefully my police and fireman friends see this and I hope they jump in and help as well,” Sposato said. “I’m not trying to hide anything.”

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

Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo | Sun-Times file photo

Sun-Times file photo

Sposato — a former Chicago firefighter whose ward covers a part of the Northwest Side, heavily populated by police officers, firefighters and other employees — said he met Rialmo when the officer was a child and his father brought him to Sposato’s old firehouse.

Sposato said he’s been in touch with Rialmo’s family as legal proceedings involving the officer remain ongoing.

“I try to just tell them to stay strong and everything’s going to be OK,” Sposato said.

The campaign was started by Rialmo’s attorney, Joel Brodsky.

“The Mayor and the City were set on throwing Officer Rialmo under the bus in order to have the appearance that they were ‘holding officers accountable,’ and they were not going to let the facts get in the way of their goal not losing votes,” reads the solicitation on the GoFundMe page, written by Brodsky. “However, Officer Rialmo fought back.”

Rialmo fatally shot Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones in December 2015. LeGrier was staying at his father’s two-flat in West Garfield Park while on break from Northern Illinois University and he 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 a report from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

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.

COPA has recommended Rialmo — who has been on desk duty since the shooting — be fired.

Last week, Rialmo was charged with misdemeanor battery and theft in connection with a fight at a restaurant on the Northwest Side. COPA put out video footage of the fight and Rialmo was released on his own recognizance. He’s scheduled to appear in court next in March.

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