Rep. Bobby Rush says Chicago officers lounged in his office as nearby stores were looted

Rep. Bobby Rush says Chicago officers lounged in his office as nearby stores were looted
© Moriah Ratner

Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 House Democrats criticize Texas's 'shortcomings in preparations' on winter storms MORE (D-Ill.) said Thursday that "eight or more" police officers were seen lounging in his damaged campaign office in the South Side of Chicago two weeks ago as neighboring businesses were looted amid protests over the death of George Floyd.

A surveillance video showed the police officers with their feet up on a desk, making and eating popcorn, drinking coffee and napping on an office couch. Rush said three of the officers were “white-shirts,” meaning they are of a higher rank.


“They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves and some popcorn — my popcorn — in my microwave while looters were tearing up businesses within their site, within their reach,” Rush said during a press conference with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D). “They were in a mode of relaxation and they did not care about what was happening to business people, to this city. 

“They didn’t care.”


Rush and Lightfoot said during the press conference that Chicago police did not do enough to stop looters from breaking into small businesses.

Rush said he told the mayor about the situation on Wednesday. She said the incident “enraged” her and her team. Lightfoot apologized to Rush for the police officer’s actions, saying they showed “profound disrespect.”

“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."

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said the department was working on identifying the officers and seeking disciplinary measures.

“If you sleep during a riot, what do you do on a regular shift when there’s no riot?” Brown asked at the press conference.

First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio said 120 police officers were injured the same day the video was taken.

“The same time these 13 officers were popping popcorn, taking a nap, relaxing inside this office, I was shoulder-to-shoulder with other officers … as we got pelted with rocks from rioters,” Riccio said.

Dozens of U.S. cities like Chicago have seen massive protests in the weeks after Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25, with activists calling for widespread police reform and some urging for cities to defund police departments entirely.

Some police departments, such as in New York City and Los Angeles, have faced increased scrutiny after videos surfaced of officers using force on protestors.

House Democrats introduced a bill this week that would ban chokeholds by police and repeal qualified immunity for officers, among other things. Republicans are drafting their own police reform legislation that has yet to be released. 

Updated: 3:39 p.m.