CHICAGO -- Officials have released video of a bar fight involving Officer Robert Rialmo, who fatally shot and killed Quintonio LeGrier, 19, and his neighbor Bettie Jones, 55.
The video appears to show Rialmo in an off-duty altercation with a couple men inside Moretti's Restaurant on Dec. 17. He appears to shove one man and punch another before someone brushes him back and he's later seen apparently rushing out of the room.
Rialmo's lawyer, Joel Brodsky, has pointed out that the surveillance cameras inside the restaurant were partially blocked by a chandelier, obscuring the view of what happened.
He said one of the men Rialmo punched was drunk and tried to take Rialmo’s coat, then “reared back” as if to throw a punch at Rialmo. He claimed his client was simply defending himself in a way that he was trained as a police officer to do.
In the video, as things get tense, a bystander is seen pulling a nearby woman’s chair away from the melee.
Even though he appears to flee, Brodsky said Rialmo stayed at the scene until he was told by a bar manager that there would be no charges and he was free to go.
However, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says Officer Robert Rialmo turned himself in Monday after being charged with two counts of battery and one count of theft, all misdemeanors.
In the Christmas 2015 fatal shooting of LeGrier and Jones, Rialmo claims he fired at LeGrier because the teen swung at him with a baseball bat.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) concluded the teen didn't swing at Rialmo and recommended the officer's firing.
COPA is still investigating the bar fight.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has until March to decide the officer’s fate. Local activists, along with the families of Jones and LeGrier, said they want him fired and charged with murder.
They’re planning to protest at police headquarters next week.