The Chicago Police Department suspended 17 of its police officers accused of lounging in Rep. Bobby Rush’s office during a riot over the summer, the police union said.
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police has filed grievances challenging the suspensions, which vary in length, the union’s president John Catanzara told The Chicago Sun-Times. Catanzara argued that the officers who were accused of relaxing in Rep. Bobby Rush’s office had nothing else to do.
“What do you want people to do when there was nothing going on? They had already secured the whole property,” Catanzara said, according to The Sun-Times. “They had originally walked through the parking lot around the back side of all of the buildings to make sure all the doors were secure when they arrived there.”
The officers allegedly entered Rush’s office late on May 31, lounged with their feet on desks, made coffee and ate popcorn, the congressman said at the time, citing security footage, The New York Times reported at the time. While they allegedly relaxed in the congressman’s office, widespread violence had spread through the streets of Chicago, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Chicago officers relaxed in a congressman’s office for four hours while looting & arson unfolded outside.@RepBobbyRush told me the cops entered without permission, took naps, made popcorn & left him $1.
— Luke Broadwater ☀️ (@lukebroadwater) June 11, 2020
“They came around the front. There was nothing going on. That was done. Period,” Catanzara said, according to The Sun-Times. “Are they supposed to stand at attention in the mall?”
The Chicago Police Department has yet to publicly confirm the suspensions and didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In June, days after the alleged incident, Rush joined Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown in condemning the officers’ alleged actions at a news conference.
“You’re not serving and protecting when you make movie popcorn and put up your feet while your fellow officers are getting the hell beat out of them just a few doors away,” Lightfoot said, The Sun-Times reported.
“Let’s now be the good cops who hold the bad cops accountable by rooting them out of this profession,” Brown said he told his staff, according to The Sun-Times.
Rush said the police officers left a single dollar bill in the office, The Times reported.
“It made me feel totally disrespected as a member of Congress and an African-American male,” he said.