Chicago police officers were captured on camera lounging in a congressman’s office while rioters were damaging and looting nearby businesses, city officials said.
The group of 13, including three supervisors, entered the offices of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) overnight on June 1, hours after it was broken into. Surveillance footage showed some of them sleeping while others gathered snacks and coffee.
“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, within their reach,” Rush said at a briefing on Thursday.
“They didn’t care,” he added later. “They absolutely didn’t care.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, apologized to Rush on behalf of the city, saying she was personally embarrassed.
When officers swear an oath to serve and protect, they must undertake that mission in all parts of the city, Lightfoot said. The officers “demonstrated a total disregard” for their colleagues and local residents, she added.
Officials are still working on identifying all the officers and supervisors who were in the office.
John Catanzara, the president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, told a local outlet that Rush’s staff members asked the officers to be at the office. Catanzara didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.
Police officials condemned the actions.
Chicago Superintendent David Brown told commanders in a call after seeing the footage that behavior reflects leadership.
“Officers asleep during a riot, with supervisors in tow, reflects our leadership,” he said at the briefing.
“If you sleep during a riot, what do you do during a regular shift when there’s no riot?” he asked.
Anthony Riccio, first deputy superintendent, said what happened couldn’t be defended.
At the same time the officers were lounging, “I was standing shoulder to should with hundreds of other officers on State Street as we got pelted with rocks by rioters,” he said.
On the same night, rioters injured 120 officers, damaged 167 vehicles, and damaged and looted countless businesses, Riccio added.
The Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs division is investigating what happened, as is the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Lightfoot said criminal charges are possible.