The president of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police on Thursday blasted Mayor Lori Lightfoot after she criticized more than a dozen officers "lounging" in U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush's campaign office as protests and looting erupted in Chicago earlier this month.
Rush, who made the announcement alongside Chicago police leadership and Mayor 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.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara told NBC 5 that the officers were requested to be at the office by the congressman's staff, contrary to other reports.
"...Because that whole mall had been destroyed all afternoon. Literally every store cleaned out," he said.
Catanzara also said the afternoon news conference with Mayor Lightfoot and Rep. Rush was "ridiculously melodramatic, over the top production, pre-planned."
"It was the mayor's attempt to pour a tanker of gasoline on top of a fire that was starting to smolder," he said.
Catanzara also said he believes Lightfoot is trying to further her agenda to circumvent the union's contract and protections. Additionally, he said the mayor's presumption that the officers were ignoring others in need is ridiculous.
"Shame on her for ever questioning their valor and the heroism and the officers of CPD to make it sound like they were letting other officers get the crap beat out of them while they sat there and slept," he said. "That is a disgusting accusation. She owes the men and women an apology for even implying that was."
Lightfoot promised the incident will be investigated "thoroughly" and the officers involved will be identified and held accountable.
"Not one of these officers will be allowed to hide behind the badge and go on like nothing happened," she said.
"We had 120 officers injured that night that they sat there," First Deputy Supt. of the Chicago Police Department Anthony Riccio said.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown condemned the officers' actions.
"I'm not playing with you that I mean what I say when I say we'll hold you accountable," Brown said. "Move, get out of the way, but we are going to uphold the nobility of this profession. This conduct is not representative but if it's not let's do something about it."
"If you sleep during a riot what do you do during a regular shift when there's no riot?" Brown added.
The video comes as Lightfoot teased an announcement of "monumental reforms" in the police department.
Several protests have called on Lightfoot to both decrease funding for the Chicago Police Department, and remove officers from Chicago Public Schools - both actions the mayor has indicated she is reluctant to take. Lightfoot has said she believes the push to defund police is not "really what's underlying" the continued demonstrations, but on Thursday pushed a plan to require certification for police officers.
"I have directed my legal team to do the research and draft legislation," she said.