Days after acquittal, Chicago cop Robert Rialmo involved in another bar scuffle
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Less than a week after he was found not guilty of battery for punching two people in a bar, embattled Chicago Police officer Robert Rialmo was involved in yet another scuffle, police confirmed Friday.
Rialmo, 29, was involved in “some type of altercation” with two other people at Teaser’s Pub in the 7100 block of West Higgins shortly before 4 a.m. Friday, according to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
The three were kicked out of the bar, and it escalated into “something physical” outside a nearby Taco Burrito King restaurant, Guglielmi said.
None of the three was arrested, though all were considered “mutual combatants,” Guglielmi said.
An internal affairs investigation has been opened and any “administrative component” of the investigation would be handled by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, Guglielmi said. A spokesman for COPA confirmed the police oversight agency has opened an investigation.
Investigators are currently gathering surveillance video of both incidents, Guglielmi added, and all three are cooperating with police.
Rialmo’s attorney in the recently dismissed battery case, Joel Brodsky, said that Rialmo had recently gotten off work. He said that Rialmo was given a Breathalyzer test and he blew a 0.0.
“Two guys got in his face, started screaming, yelling at him, so he walked away,” Brodsky said. “I told him this is what’s going to happen until you fade from public view. People are going to feel they have a right to abuse you. You just got to walk away and that’s what he did.”
Brodsky said that Rialmo did not know the two other men involved.
In January, Rialmo was charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery after he punched two men in a restaurant on the Northwest Side. Last Tuesday, he was found not guilty.
Last month, a Cook County jury effectively said he was justified when he opened fire on 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier in December 2015. LeGrier and Bettie Jones — LeGrier’s father’s downstairs neighbor who opened the door for Rialmo — were both killed. The city settled the case with Jones’ family before trial for $16 million.
After he was acquitted Tuesday, Rialmo spoke to reporters for the first time since he was thrust into the public sphere more than 2 ½ years ago.
He was asked if he’s “just unlucky,” having found himself in the middle of two controversial incidents in as many years.
“I can’t say that I’m unlucky at all,” Rialmo said. “I can say that I’ve been put in some pretty bad situations that many guys wouldn’t have been able to get out of safely and I feel . . . I’m lucky for that matter.”
Rialmo still faces possible discipline from the Chicago Police Board for the shooting of LeGrier and Jones. COPA is still investigating his role in the December 2017 fight, as well.
Rialmo was assigned to desk duty after the LeGrier/Jones shooting and was stripped of his police powers after he was charged in the December 2017 fight.
In 2006, two other off-duty Chicago Police officers were in the same Taco Burrito King at Higgins and Harlem when they were caught on camera beating an ex-con. Both resigned from the department.