Chicago-Area Protests: Cops Seen ‘Lounging' in Rush's Office, City Prepares for Friday Marches

Here are the latest headlines on the protests and fallout continuing across the Chicago area

A suburban teacher is under investigation for her controversial social media post surrounding Chicago-area protests.

Plus, a number of events from Illinois leaders and activists are being planned for Friday.

Here are the latest headlines on the protests and fallout continuing across the Chicago area:

Rep. Rush Says Officers Caught on Cam 'Lounging' in Campaign Office Amid Looting

Videotape shows more than a dozen officers "lounging" in U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush's campaign office, one even making popcorn, as protests and looting erupted in Chicago earlier this month, he revealed Thursday.

Rush, who made the announcement alongside Chicago police leadership and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, said he received a call nearly two weeks ago telling him his office at 5401 S. Wentworth Ave. had been burglarized- a scene he assumed was due to looters that had damaged businesses in the area following protests over the death of George Floyd.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks as images behind her offer a look at footage of officers “lounging” in a congressman’s campaign office as looting took place in the city.

But after reviewing videotape, Rush said he learned eight or more officers had entered his office after the break-in, some relaxing at his desk and on a couch. One was on a cell phone while another made coffee and one made popcorn, he said the video showed.

Rush said he notified an area alderman, who then alerted Lightfoot.

On Thursday, Lightfoot released images from the footage.

She promised the incident will be investigated "thoroughly" and the officers involved will be identified and held accountable.

Marches, Protests Planned for Friday

A number of marches and events are being planned for Friday across the Chicago area.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin will join Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and West Side faith leaders for a "groundbreaking" march dubbed the "Spirit of the King March." The mass gathering aims to honor the memory of George Floyd and "shed light on the nation's challenges of racism, disparities and injustice."

Leaders of the march also say they expect to be joined by members of the Chicago Police Board and the Civilian Officer of Police Accountability.

"This march will be the first of it’s [sic] kind to where Christians, Catholics, Jews and Muslims walk through the Westside with a common theme," organizer said in a release. "With one voice and one message the group will advocate for better schools, improved housing, affordable healthcare services and increased economic development in black and brown communities. All of which the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr firmly articulated when he moved his family to Chicago’s Westside."

Ald. Tom Tunney on Chicago's North Side also alerted residents to a protest planned for the Wrigleyville and Lakeview areas Friday.

"A protest has been planned and will start at the 19th District Police Station at 5 p.m. this Friday, June 12th," Tunney said in a message to residents. "Protesters will then march south to the 44th Ward Office. Police will be visible throughout the neighborhood before, during and after this gathering."

Other marches and events have also been announced across the city and street closures are likely.

Suburban Teacher Under Investigation for Controversial Facebook Posts About Protests

A suburban high school is investigating after a long-time teacher’s string of opinionated Facebook posts left many calling her words “hurtful and offensive.”

The Palatine High School teacher, who is not being identified, is now being investigated by the school district for the posts.

The posts were extremely critical of looters and protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. The teacher’s Facebook page has since been deleted, but dozens of people took screenshots of the posts, forwarding them to school administrators.

Palatine High School principal Tony Medina responded to the investigation, saying that the teacher’s statements “do not represent the values” of the school.

“The statements being reported do not represent the values and principles of the faculty and staff of Palatine High or District 211,” he said. “We are currently conducting an investigation and will follow through with appropriate measures.”

There is a school board meeting scheduled for next week, with many planning to attend to voice their displeasure with the teacher’s comments and to call for her dismissal.

The teacher at the center of the uproar says she cannot comment at this time, but plans to in the future.

Watchdog Deems Chicago Police Department’s Record Keeping Inadequate

Chicago’s inspector general’s office contends in a report released Wednesday that the police department's sloppy record keeping makes it difficult for the agency to comply with subpoenas.

The watchdog agency noted many of the Chicago Police Department’s records aren’t digitized and it is impossible for the staff to determine which paper records exist. The inspector general’s office asserts nearly three-quarters of requests sent to the police department’s subpoena unit last summer were never forwarded to other offices within the department to find related records.

“CPD’s failure to identify and produce all records in its possession has put due process and the fairness of criminal and civil litigation at stake, with enormous potential consequences for individual litigants and their liberty interests,” acting Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg said in a statement.

The inspector general’s office recommended the department streamline its records management system under a single unit, establish consistent procedures and find a way to identify both paper and electronic records that would be relevant to a document request.

In a statement, a Chicago Police Department spokesman noted the department had been taking steps to reform its records management policies.

South Loop Business Owner Looking for Good Samaritan Who Helped Him When Looters Attacked

A South Loop business owner is looking for the Good Samaritan who helped to protect the establishment after he was assaulted by looters late last month.

On May 30 at approximately 9:30 p.m., looters stormed into Warehouse Liquors in the 600 block of South Wabash in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.

The store’s owner, Gene Charness, got a startling phone call from his security company, and raced to the shop.

“There were 15 or 20 looters inside,” he said. “I came and directed them all to leave, and by and large they did.”

A South Loop business owner is looking for the Good Samaritan who helped to protect the establishment after he was assaulted by looters late last month. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez has all the details.

One of the remaining looters didn’t comply, and violently knocked the 62-year-old man to the glass-strewn floor. Charness was able to get up and push the looters behind a metal gate, but one of them sprayed a fire extinguisher into his face.

“There were people throwing bottles and cans at me, and spit in my general direction,” he said. “Some fellow comes to the door and says that he wants to kill me.”

Then, all of the sudden, a young woman stepped up to help.

“She posted herself in front of the door and told the people that it was a black-owned business, and that they should leave it alone,” he said. “By and large, it worked.”

For at least two hours, the brave woman stood guard, but the store’s owners only know her as “CeCe.”

Now, Charness wants to find “CeCe,” and to thank her for everything that she did.

“I love her, and I’ll never be able to repay the kindness she brought forward,” he said.

The business had its soft reopening on Wednesday, and the owners hope that it can fully reopen and be stronger than ever.

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