Bobby Rush: Civil rights veteran says Chicago police union 'stands shoulder to shoulder with KKK'

'They’re the organised guardians of continuous police lawlessness, of police murder and police brutality' Representative says

Louise Hall
Monday 15 June 2020 21:30
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Chicago mayor responds to police 'lounging' at US congressman's office and making popcorn while nearby shops looted

Congressman and civil rights veteran Bobby Rush compared Chicago‘s largest police union to the Ku Klux Klan on Sunday, saying the two organisations “are like kissing, hugging and law-breaking cousins”.

In an interview with Politico, the Illinois Democrat said “the number-one cause that prevents police accountability, that promotes police corruption, that protects police lawlessness, is a culprit called the Fraternal Order of Police.”

“They’re the organised guardians of continuous police lawlessness, of police murder and police brutality. The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police is the most rabid, racist body of criminal lawlessness by police in the land,” he continued.

“It stands shoulder to shoulder with the Ku Klux Klan then and the Ku Klux Klan now.”

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest police union, with more than 330,000 members in more than 2,200 lodges, according to its website.

Mr Rush is a longtime civil rights activist and co-founder of Illinois’ Black Panther chapter.

Neither the Fraternal Order of Police or the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 immediately responded to The Independent’s request for comment.

The comments from Mr Rush come following rising tensions between the police union and some of Chicago’s elected officials.

Last week images emerged of Chicago police officers seemingly kicking their feet up on desks, making popcorn, and brewing coffee in the burglarised district office of Mr Rush last month while a nearby shopping centre was looted.

According to Mr Rush, the surveillance footage showed that at least eight Chicago police officers, three of whom were supervisors, had entered his office.

While the officers apparently relaxed, the shopping centre was looted during protests against the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis after a white police officer pinned him to the ground by his neck for a prolonged period of time.

“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,” Mr Rush said at the press conference on Thursday.

The Representative informed Mayor Lori Lightfoot of the video footage on Wednesday. She also rebuked the officers.

The officers’ actions “enraged” her and were ”a personal embarrassment”, Mayor Lightfoot said at a news conference concerning the footage.

“I’m sorry that you and your staff even had to deal with this incredible indignity,“ she told Mr Rush at the news conference.

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.

A Mr Rush spokesman told Politico this was not the case.

“Shame on her for ever questioning their valour 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,” Mr Catanzara told the broadcaster in reference to Mayor Lightfoot’s response.

“That is a disgusting accusation. She owes the men and women an apology for even implying that was.”

Mayor Lightfoot, a former Chicago Police Board president and chairwoman of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, promised the incident will be investigated “thoroughly” and that the officers involved will be identified and held accountable, reports said.

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