Mayor Lori Lightfoot again disputes that Chicago cops were asked to protect U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s office amid unrest: ‘That narrative is false’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday again disputed that Chicago police were asked to protect U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s office amid looting in June, saying the allegation is “false,” but investigations into the controversial incident are ongoing.

Lightfoot was asked at an unrelated news conference about the status of the city’s internal investigation into the incident. She also was asked about assertions by Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara that cops had been asked to protect Rush’s office.

“That narrative is false,” Lightfoot said. “It was false from the minute he uttered it. The investigation is ongoing.”

In addition to an internal investigation, Lightfoot said there’s “also an evaluation being done by the state’s attorney’s office,” but she said she hopes everyone finishes their work soon.

“This doesn’t need to be hanging over those officers’ head, it doesn’t need to be unresolved,” Lightfoot said. “I think Congressman Rush deserves to have some answers.”

In June, Lightfoot and Rush released images they said depicted Chicago police officers making popcorn, drinking coffee and sleeping on a couch in the congressman’s South Side campaign office while nearby businesses were being looted.

Rush told reporters he got a call that his campaign office had been burglarized and later saw surveillance footage of officers “lounging in my office,” including three supervisors, with their feet up on desks and another asleep on the couch.

“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.

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City Hall did not release the video from inside Rush’s office, providing only selected screenshots in a slideshow that played behind the mayor during a news conference. The Police Department did not provide a timeline and would not say when the officers were inside Rush’s campaign office.

A Rush spokesman said the office learned about the building being burglarized on May 31, when the alarm system went off, but did not discover the police presence until two days later when a security service provided video footage that was reviewed on June 3.

Catanzara previously called the news conference “despicable” and said the looting at the shopping center was done by the time the officers shown in the images arrived.

Catanzara suggested police brass had bad information. He said that based on the light outside the windows in the images, it was the early morning hours, and the officers were bored and exhausted from guarding the office all night.

*story by The Chicago Tribune