Politics

Police lounged in Bobby Rush’s office while Chicago’s South Side was looted

The mayor added that “it’s almost inconceivable with what was going on … where looting continued into Monday morning, having started Saturday night.”

“Look at this guy, sleeping on a congressman’s couch,” Lightfoot said, pointing to an image of an officer.

Rush added: “They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves and to pop popcorn — my popcorn — in my microwave while looters were tearing apart businesses within their sight and within their reach.”

Supt. David Brown of the Chicago Police Department, who was at the news conference, did not address the specific events but said: “Behavior reflects leadership, always. It’s a hard truth to take as a leader, that you’re responsible for the behavior of others.”

Rush’s campaign office, which has been closed since the primary in March, is in a strip mall that was looted over the weekend of May 30-31. Rush said his staff noticed someone had broken into the offices when they entered on Monday, June 1. Then they looked at the surveillance video, which showed officers sitting on chairs and one even taking a nap.

Lightfoot said the offices had been looted earlier in the weekend and that officers came in and out afterward over a period of four hours in the early hours of June 1.

“When you swear an oath to serve and protect, you are a Chicago police officer — not a police officer only for certain neighborhoods and only for certain times,” said the mayor, whose voice shook with emotion and who at one point wiped away tears.

Lightfoot showed an image of officers in the offices and said, “We know who you are and will find you.” She encouraged them to come forward on their own and pledged that the city would take “the strongest possible action — particularly with supervisors,” who were identified by their white shirts.

She called the police officers’ actions “deplorable … at a time when the city and their fellow officers needed them most.”

Lightfoot said that “their conduct will confirm the perception that too many people on the South and West sides were left to fend for themselves [and] that police don’t care if black and brown communities were looted and left to burn.”

The South and West sides were hit particularly hard by looting after the killing of Floyd, an African American man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25. Chicago officials and activists called out Lightfoot and police officials for not doing enough to quell the violence, but Lightfoot said that police had responded to all of Chicago’s 50 wards evenly.

As Lightfoot noted on Thursday, she and Rush “haven’t always agreed on every issue, but today we are in total alignment in righteous anger” over the episode at his office.

Lightfoot also said she was moving ahead to work with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers to license police officers. “We must act,” she said.

Source: politico.com
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