Chicago police officers were caught on video using Rep. Bobby L. Rush’s burglarized campaign office as a hangout while people looted a nearby shopping center, the Illinois Democrat said Thursday.
Rush and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference that video footage shows about a dozen police officers using the office on the South Side of Chicago as a campsite of sorts: napping, helping themselves to snacks and putting their feet up on desks while looting of area businesses took place.
Rush said he was alerted by a phone call that his campaign offices had been burglarized earlier on May 31, as looting and fires occurred in the area. The video footage shows the officers in the office around 1 a.m. on June 1. Photos shown at the news conference Thursday show a large broken window at the front of the office space.
Police officials confirmed that 13 officers had been “relaxing” in the office.
Rush said video footage shows them “lounging in my office,” including at least three supervisor-level officers. “One was asleep on my couch in my campaign office,” Rush said.
“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,” Rush said.
The incident occurred amid massive protests and civil unrest, along with criticism of police tactics and institutions, after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown condemned the officers’ actions in Rush’s office as well as homophobic slurs and other actions caught on camera during the recent protests and unrest.
“I’m not playing with you that I mean what I say when I say we’ll hold you accountable,” Brown said. “Move, get out of the way, but we are going to uphold the nobility of this profession. … This conduct is not representative, but if it’s not let’s do something about it.”
“If you sleep during a riot, what do you do during a regular shift when there’s no riot?” Brown added.
Rush, a 14-term congressman, brought the incident to Lightfoot earlier this week, according to the mayor, who described being “enraged” by the conduct of the officers involved.
“That’s a personal embarrassment to me,” Lightfoot said. “I’m sorry that you and your staff even had to deal with this incredible indignity.”
Lightfoot apologized on behalf of the city for the office being treated “with such profound disrespect.”
Rush, a member of the Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus, has introduced bills to cut federal funding to law enforcement agencies that don’t maintain and enforce police body camera and dashcam policies. Rush has also elevated concerns about gun violence and policing in minority communities throughout his House tenure.
Speaking on the House floor to protest the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, Rush wore a hoodie in violation of decorum rules. “Too often this violent act is repeated in the streets of our nation,” he said of the shooting.
“Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker,” Rush said as he removed his suit jacket to reveal the sweatshirt beneath. “Just because somebody wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.” He was escorted from the chamber.