Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) — who has claimed that “we are living in a police state” in response to law enforcement quelling recent protests — berated the Chicago police on Thursday for “lounging” in his campaign office instead of stopping rioters from looting nearby businesses.
Police officers lounged in Rush’s Chicago campaign office, where they drank coffee and made popcorn for themselves while rioters looted from nearby businesses in the wake of the death of George Floyd, according to the congressman.
“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,” said Rush of the police officers at a press conference on Thursday.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Mayor Lightfoot joins the Chicago Police Department and U.S. Representative Bobby Rush to make an announcement. https://t.co/hDk80Rd8e9
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 11, 2020
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) — who also spoke at the press conference — said that she and Rush “haven’t always agreed on every issue” but that they are now “in total alignment in righteous anger” over the incident at the congressman’s campaign office.
“Eight or more police officers [were] lounging in my office as, when I assume, looters were breaking [into] stores in this shopping center where my office is located at,” said Rush.
But ironically, the congressman has also referred to law enforcement taking action against protesters as equivalent to “living in a police state.”
We are living in a police state. https://t.co/YjO8x7QZjt
— Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) June 2, 2020
“These individuals were lounging in a congressman’s office, having a little hang out for themselves while small businesses on the South Side were looted and burned,” insisted Lightfoot, while images caught on a surveillance camera of the officers lounging were displayed in the background.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara acknowledged that the photo of an officer sleeping on a couch in Rush’s office “looks bad” but argued that the looting was already over by then, and that officers had been told to stand down, according to a report by Chicago Sun-Times.
“This was 1 a.m. They destroyed that mall all afternoon. There was nothing left to loot there,” said Catanzara.
“She’s lying,” added Catanzara of the Chicago mayor. “Every store in that strip mall was destroyed and emptied out. The jewelry store was set afire — the police were told to stand down and let it happen.”
Catanzara went on to accuse Lightfoot of staging a “Hollywood production” to advance a political agenda, adding that the congressman’s staff had actually invited the officers into the office, where they told the police to “make themselves at home.”
“They make it sound like the police went there and were looting the office,” said Catanzara to Chicago Sun-Times. “I mean — it was absolutely ridiculous what she was trying to spin this into.”
“She has an agenda. She has motives,” added Catanzara of Lightfoot. “The riots are over — the protests are pretty much over for now, which means the anti-police rhetoric has pretty much died down for the most part. That just doesn’t work for her.”
Meanwhile, Lightfoot suggested that if the police officers who drank coffee and made popcorn in Rush’s office do not turn themselves in, she will find them.
“You know who you are. You know what you did,” she said. “Don’t make us come find you.”