Officers who lounged, slept and snacked in the burglarized South Side office of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in the early morning hours of June 1 as unrest swept the South and West sides of the city have been disciplined, the Chicago Police Department announced Thursday.
A group of 13 officers — which included three supervisors — were captured on video surveillance footage discovered by Rush’s staff, and turned over to the city.
After initially declining to confirm the number of officers disciplined or reveal their punishments, the department announced late Thursday that 17 of its members were suspended and one member was reprimanded.
Officials did not immediately respond to a question from WTTW News about why they issued the revised statement.
“The members have been notified of the results of the investigation,” according to the statement. “Each member may elect to challenge the decisions based on their collective bargaining agreements, which initiates the grievance process. We are unable to release further information regarding the results of the investigation at this time due to the ongoing grievance process.”
Lightfoot and Rush publicly excoriated the officers at a news conference on June 11 where they unveiled the video and demanded the officers be held accountable for their conduct during the looting that followed protests of police brutality triggered by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
“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,” Rush said.
Officers spent between four and five hours in Rush’s campaign office at 54th Street and Wentworth Avenue, according to the video.
The office was burglarized along with several other businesses in the same strip mall before the officers shown in the video arrived, Lightfoot said. Several businesses were destroyed.
More than 370 complaints were filed against officers with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, including one from Chicago Police Board President Ghian Foreman that alleged an officer struck him five times with a baton. Other officers face complaints that they used homophobic slurs, flipped off crowds of peaceful protesters and covered up their names and badge numbers.
Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown apologized to Rush on behalf of the city and the police department.
The conduct of the officers on the video represents “a personal embarrassment to me,” said Lightfoot, whose voice cracked with emotion several times during the June 11 news conference.
In September, Lightfoot called on police officials to finish the probe and dismissed assertions made by Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara that the officers had permission to be in Rush’s office and were protecting it when they were captured on surveillance cameras.
Catanzara did not respond to a request from WTTW News about the discipline the officers could face.