Ministers, activists want Lightfoot to oppose rehiring of fired CPD officer
The group, calling themselves “The Leaders Network,” delivered a letter to the mayor’s office Tuesday.
A group of prominent West and South side ministers and activists wants Mayor Lori Lightfoot to publicly oppose the rehiring of fired Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo, who is waging a legal fight to get his job back.
The Leaders Network, which includes the Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch and the Rev. Michael Pfleger, delivered a letter to Lightfoot’s City Hall office Tuesday morning.
“We do not have to remind you of the mood of our nation and world in this season of moral outrage in the filmed police murder of George Floyd,” the letter reads. “We cannot fight for justice and radical police reform in Minneapolis without fighting for the same in Chicago, a city we love but a city that has also been an epicenter of police abuse against citizens of color. Our request is that you send another strong signal. We strongly urge that you respond to this letter by publicly stating that Robert Rialmo be banned from any city employment.”
Rialmo filed a lawsuit in November to try to get his job back. His attorneys have argued the Chicago Police Board’s decision to terminate him was “contrary to law and sound public opinion” and was “arbitrary, capricious and unrelated to the requirements of service.”
The lawsuit asks a Cook County judge to reverse the board’s decision and reinstate Rialmo with back pay.
The board — the body that metes out discipline for police officers — voted unanimously in October to terminate Rialmo for his role in the fatal shooting of Bettie Jones, 55, in the 4700 block of West Erie Street in December 2015. Rialmo also shot and killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who was in the midst of a mental health episode and charged at Rialmo with an aluminum baseball bat. The charges brought against Rialmo by then-Supt. Eddie Johnson did not relate to the killing of LeGrier, only Jones.
Rialmo’s attorneys could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
David Cherry, president of the The Leaders Network, said Rialmo has “forfeited his right to be an employee with the Chicago Police Department.”
“A person like Rialmo has so far escaped the justice of a courtroom. It would be a further injustice if we find out he is employed in any capacity by the city,” Cherry said.
A spokesman for the mayor cited a June 2 news conference in which Lightfoot was asked about Rialmo’s attempts to get his job back and said: “Officer Rialmo is a coward — former Officer Rialmo is a coward. He has no place among the honorable men and women who wear the badge of the Chicago Police Department.”