CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Police officer was found not guilty after a bar fight trial.
Officer Robert Rialmo was facing two counts of misdemeanor battery after throwing two punches in a Northwest side restaurant last December. After the two-day bench trial, the judge said the state had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“I feel that people have the wrong idea of myself and I feel that I’m glad that this worked out in my situation,” Rialmo stated, breaking his silence. “It’s been a tough road, man, but I’ll be honest. It’s been a long couple of years and it’s brought my family through a lot of ups and downs.”
It was another victory for the 29-year-old officer who was cleared of two counts of misdemeanor battery.
Surveillance video inside a Moretti’s restaurant in Edison Park showed the 2017 incident.
Two men accused Rialmo, who was off-duty at the time, of punching them.
“These guys come over, try to take his coat. When bob says ‘No, it’s not your coat,’ they insist,” said Rialmo’s attorney, Joel Brodsky.
Brodsky pointed to two Illinois laws, saying they entitled Rialmo to use force to defend himself and his property. The attorney argued that Rialmo used the least amount of force necessary.
After Tuesday’s verdict, Rialmo took questions from reporters for the first time since shooting Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones more than two years ago.
“You have an independent judiciary who’s looked at Bob’s actions in both the LeGrier case and this case and have found that he was justified in doing what he did,” said Brodsky.
Last month, Rialmo was the center of civil lawsuits for the deadly shootings.
“Yeah, there have been some threats,” said Rialmo. “We take them seriously. Nobody’s acted on them yet, but we’re going to be careful.”