Second Chicago alderman donates to Robert Rialmo defense fund

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Ald. Anthony Napolitano | File photo

A second Chicago alderman has donated to the legal defense fund for the officer who fatally shot Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier.

Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), himself a former police officer and firefighter, kicked in $100 on Wednesday to the GoFundMe campaign set up for officer Robert Rialmo’s legal bills.

“He’s a great kid,” Napolitano said of Rialmo, a 28-year-old resident of Napolitano’s ward. “I want him to keep his mind straight, keep his sanity. He’s going through a lot.”

When asked if he was concerned that his donation would upset or offend any of his colleagues in the City Council, Napolitano said: “I can give a rat’s ass.”

Ald. Nick Sposato | Sun-Times file photo

Ald. Nick Sposato | Sun-Times file photo

Napolitano’s donation matches that of Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), also a former fireman, who gave the same amount last Friday. Both aldermen represent wards heavily populated by police officers, firefighters and other city workers.

Sposato said he made a point to put his name on the donation — GoFundMe gives donors the option to give anonymously — in the hopes that it would inspire others to give to Rialmo as well.

But Napolitano said he didn’t know about Sposato’s donation until recently.

Napolitano said he “would’ve done it at the exact same time” as Sposato if he’d known sooner.

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 LeGrier and 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.

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

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

Sun-Times file photo

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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