Two weeks ago, Chicago police officer Robert Rialmo was found not liable for the controversial fatal shooting of west side teenager Quintonio LeGrier. An innocent bystander, Bettie Jones, also died.
Now, Rialmo is defending himself against criminal charges springing from a bar-room brawl.
Officer Robert Rialmo is on trial once again. This time, he's charged with misdemeanor battery for his role in a bar fight last December which was caught on video.
“It's wearing on him, it's frustrating for him,” said defense attorney Joel Brodsky.
In opening statements, Brodsky said Rialmo punched the two alleged victims but only after one of them reached for Rialmo's coat. Brodsky says the men were drunk and Rialmo thought they were trying to steal his jacket.
“Both of them were hammered, they were both very intoxicated,” Brodsky said.
Prosecutors claim that one of the victims, Atmiya Patel, had misplaced his jacket and was merely checking Rialmo's table where he thought he had left it. They claim Rialmo overreacted by first shoving Patel, then punching both Patel and his friend, Brandon Stassen. Brodsky says Rialmo was just protecting his property, and himself.
Brodsky says he hasn't yet decided whether officer Rialmo will take the stand and tell his story in his own defense.
Atmiya Patel did testify Monday. The 23-year-old pharmacy technician said he never threatened Rialmo. When Rialmo punched him, Patel testified that he felt defenseless and scared. The case is being heard by Judge Daniel Gallagher, and it could wrap up Tuesday.