Chicago mayor: 'No excuse' for officers lounging in congressman's office during looting

Lori Lightfoot has called for the officers caught relaxing in an office during looting and arson to turn themselves in and said they will be disciplined.
/ Source: TODAY

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the scene of police officers lounging in a congressman's campaign office earlier this month while looting and arson were going on outside "the height of dereliction of duty" on TODAY Friday.

Lightfoot spoke with Sheinelle Jones about security footage showing eight Chicago police officers relaxing in the office of Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush on the South Side while looters were outside at the shopping center where the office is located.

"They took themselves out of service for five hours,'' she said. "There can be no excuse and no tolerance, period."

Rush and Lightfoot released the footage at a press conference on Thursday. She has demanded that the officers turn themselves in and said they will be disciplined after an investigation.

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said there is "no excuse" for officers who were caught lounging in an office while looters were right outside during recent protests. TODAY

"This is the height of dereliction of duty," Lightfoot said. "These officers were brought to this area because there was chaos going on - looting, shooting, arson.

"Their fellow residents needed them to act. Their fellow officers needed them to act and some of them literally took themselves out of service when officer emergency alerts were going off."

Rush said Thursday that about two weeks ago, he received a call that his office had been burglarized only to find surveillance footage showed a group of officers with their feet up on desks, sleeping on couches, drinking coffee and making popcorn in the microwave.

Their actions came amid protests over George Floyd's death that had turned violent with arson and looting going on in the area.

Lightfoot also spoke about her proposal to have officers licensed by the state similar to any other profession like barber or manicurist. She believes certification will help prevent disgraced officers from moving to other states and getting hired by a different department by noting whether they were honorably or dishonorably discharged from their previous job, similar to the U.S. military system.

"It's high time that we have uniform standards for licensing, minimum requirements on training and recertification that have to happen with a regular cadence, and a process for decertifying someone who has dishonorably served," she said.

She also is pushing to "substantially raise the threshold and scrutiny" for no-knock warrants, which have come under fire following the death of Louisville woman Breonna Taylor. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician was shot to death in March when three police officers entered her home on a no-knock warrant, which gives police the authority to enter a person's home without announcing themselves.

The Louisville Metro Council unanimously voted on Thursday night to pass a ban on no-knock warrants in a measure known as "Breonna's Law."