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Chance the Rapper piles on alderman at center of City Council ‘s—‘ storm

Chance the Rapper, left, votes in the Chicago municipal election, Feb. 26, 2019; Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), right, attends a City Council meeting in January. File Photos.| Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chance the Rapper, left, votes in the Chicago municipal election, Feb. 26, 2019; Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), right, attends a City Council meeting in January. File Photos.| Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chance the Rapper waded into an aldermanic war on Wednesday, highlighting to his eight million-plus Twitter followers that Ald. Nick Sposato (38th) helped to support a fund for the Chicago Police officer who fatally shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and his neighbor Bettie Jones.

“That Sposato guy is the one who payed legal fees for the cop that killed Bettie Jones. Right?” Chance tweeted on Wednesday. Chance also included a lengthy Twitter thread that went viral on Tuesday in which Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) taped Sposato telling Ramirez-Rosa, in part, “You’re a pile of s—!”

The spat comes as Sposato and Ramirez-Rosa take opposite sides in April 2’s mayoral election.

Chance the Rapper contributed $400,000 to Amara Enyia’s ultimately unsuccessful mayoral campaign in January. The Grammy-winning hip-hop artist endorsed Enyia in October and hosted fundraisers for her. But it’s unclear whether he will endorse a candidate in the runoff.

Ramirez-Rosa — who is supporting Toni Preckwinkle for mayor — said as he entered Council chambers for a committee meeting Tuesday, Sposato said, “Hey Carlos, I got something for you to tweet out. Tweet out that Ald. Sposato said you’re a pile of s—!” The tweet also includes a video of Sposato repeating the remark.

The tweets came a week after Lori Lightfoot accepted the support of Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2, standing with Sposato and Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st). Ramirez-Rosa tweeted that they are the “council’s two most conservative and anti-immigrant members.” Ramirez-Rosa also shared a petition created by members of Chicago’s immigrant community calling for Lightfoot to reject the aldermanic endorsements and saying Lightfoot “has been silent about the support she received from Ald. Sposato.”

A statement from Lightfoot’s campaign said Napolitano and Sposato “attended the press conference as members of the Firefighters Union Local 2, which endorsed our campaign.”

“Lori has been a relentless fighter for progressive causes her whole life, and that won’t change as mayor,” the statement read in part, also listing the support of “progressive champions” such as U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, former County Clerk David Orr, and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).

“As mayor, Lori will fight tirelessly to move Chicago forward from the old-school machine politics Toni Preckwinkle represents,” the statement read.

Preckwinkle’s campaign fought back: “How can Lightfoot accept support from someone capable of such discrimination and bullying? If this is the type of company Lightfoot keeps, how can she be trusted as Mayor?” part of a statement from Preckwinkle’s campaign asked.

 

Sposato in January 2018 pitched $100 into a GoFundMe campaign set up as a legal defense fund for Rialmo.

“Hopefully my police and fireman friends see this and I hope they jump in and help as well,” Sposato told the Sun-Times last year. “I’m not trying to hide anything.”

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.

In a civil trial last year, a Cook County jury found that Rialmo was, effectively, justified when he fatally shot LeGrier on Dec. 26, 2015.

Rialmo and his partner, Anthony LaPalermo, responded to 4710 W. Erie about 4:25 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2015 after LeGrier and his father made calls to police. The elder LeGrier had barricaded himself in his room with a 2 x 4 a few hours earlier, and he was awoken when his son tried to force his way inside.

Rialmo and LaPalermo were met at the door by Bettie Jones, the elder LeGrier’s downstairs neighbor. Rialmo said that, as the officers were on the small front porch to the property, the younger LeGrier came down the stairs and around the door with an aluminum baseball bat raised above his head. Rialmo said that he backpedaled off the porch and opened fire, killing both LeGrier and Jones, 55.

Although Rialmo never faced criminal charges in connection with the shootings, legal headaches for Rialmo continued. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability ruled that he was not justified in the shooting. About two years after the shooting, Rialmo was involved in a fight at a bar on the Northwest Side and charged with battery. He was found not guilty last year.