Surveillance video clips shown at Mayor Lightfoot’s press conference
By Jessica D’Onofrio, ABC7 News
Chicago police officers seen on video inside Congressman Bobby Rush’s office on the South Side has sparked an internal investigation into the incident.
Surveillance pictures from inside Congressman Bobby Rush’s campaign office at 54th Street and Wentworth Avenue, which had been looted earlier, show more than a dozen Chicago police officers lounging in the office for hours, sleeping, popping popcorn, all while looting was going on throughout the city.
“They even had the unmitigated gall to 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.
Three supervisors and 10 officers were captured on the video, and spent four or five hours in the office. Though it’s unclear if the officers witnessed active looting, steps from the office on the other side of the window are several stores that were pillaged in the strip mall.
The pictures are from the early morning hours of June 1 and it is unclear if the officers witnessed active looting near the office. Several stores at the strip mall where the office is located were looted.
Congressman Rush and Mayor Lightfoot both went on cable news Thursday night to express outrage.
“These are absolutely a bunch of cowards in blue uniforms,” Rush said.
“It’s really quite mindboggling and it’s almost impossible to believe that it’s true, but yet we have five hours of video tape documenting exactly what happened,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “It is one of the most disgraceful, disrespectful things that I have ever seen and we are absolutely not going to tolerate it.”
Rush went to the mayor with the video this week. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said all of them will face disciplinary action.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Superintendent David Brown have also expressed anger while the head of the police union says there is more to the story.
“This kind of conduct means, if you sleep during a riot, what do you do on a regular shift when there’s no riot?” Brown wondered.
She offered an apology on behalf of the city, saying those officers have done incredible harm, including confirming the perception that many have on the South Side that police simply did not care that minority communities were being looted.
“It is a personal embarrassment to me,” Lightfoot said.
Meanwhile, Chicago police union leader, John Catanzara, tells the I-Team officers were deployed to Congressman Bobby Rush’s campaign office after a request for protection from Rush’s staffers. Catanzara says the officers were told to make themselves at home.
But a spokesperson for Congressman Rush said nobody on staff personally contacted the police or told them to make themselves at home.
The involvement of three supervisors was even more disturbing to the mayor and superintendent, as it casts doubt on the integrity of police leadership.
“The same time these 13 officers were popping popcorn, taking a nap, relaxing inside this office, I was standing shoulder to shoulder on State Street as we got pounded by rocks from rioters,” said First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio.
“What makes you comfortable enough that supervisors won’t hold you accountable? That means sergeants, lieutenants, commanders, chiefs, deputy chiefs need to step up or step out,” Brown said. “I’m not playing.”
Mayor Lightfoot said she’ll push for a change in state law requiring officers to be licensed.
“If we don’t harness this moment to rethink what serving and protecting means, we will never do it,” Lightfoot said.
Chicago Police Internal Affairs and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability are both investigating the incident.
Brown and Lightfoot said they are in the process of identifying all 13 CPD officers and supervisors involved. Their identities have not yet been released.
This article originally appeared on ABC7 News.