Chicago Cops Nap and Snack in the Ruins of Riots

If this is what cities are paying billions for, no wonder people are calling for defunding.


If you still haven't grasped the motivations of the Defund Police movement, Chicago has you covered.

Thursday afternoon, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a news conference to show images of 13 Chicago Police Department officers captured on surveillance cameras hanging out in the offices of Rep. Bobby Rush (D–Ill.). There they lounged around, napping, drinking coffee, and eating popcorn.

In the hours before this happened, looters targeted businesses in the strip mall where Rush's offices are located. After rioters left Rush's offices accessible, this pack of cops commandeered it and spent several hours there. Rush only learned about the officers' activities later, after someone reviewed the surveillance footage.

At the press conference, both Lightfoot and Rush condemned the officers' behavior.

"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.

Police leaders have also condemned the officers' conduct, with Superintendent Don Brown accusing them of sleeping in middle of the riot while other cops were being pelted with rocks and getting injured trying to stop looters. He added: "if you sleep during a riot, what do you do on a regular shift when there's no riot? What are you doing when there's no crisis?"

What's not yet clear is whether police were doing this instead of protecting the neighborhood. The looting of the plaza happened on May 31. The Chicago Tribune reports that the timeline of the video shows police there after 1 a.m. that night, technically on June 1. Also of note here: Chicago's NBC 5 talked with owners and workers of other businesses in the area who were confused why the police didn't block off the two entrances to the strip mall to make it harder for looters.

There are several ways Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara could have responded to this outrage-inducing discovery. Would you like to guess which tactic he chose?

  • Joining in condemning the officers for sleeping on the job and taking liberties with somebody else's property.
  • Apologize on behalf of the officers but note that they were under significant stress and exhaustion over their duties.
  • Call for a thorough investigation and remind everybody that police officers accused of misconduct are entitled to due process before we cast judgment for them.
  • Attack the mayor and demand that she apologize to these police officers in the video.

Yes, of course Catanzara chose the last route. He said it was a "disgusting accusation" and that she owed the officers in the video an apology. In addition to insisting that the looting was over when the police took over the office, he claimed that the police were there at Rush's request to protect the premises. Rush's office denies this.

Even if the rioting had ended for the evening, we're still left with a group of cops, who are apparently on shift, simply spending hours hanging out in an office inside a strip mall they completely failed to protect.

If this is what the citizens of Chicago are paying police for, why are they even bothering? It's the fundamental question at the root of this new push to cut police spending. If they're not actually preventing or fighting crime, why are they consuming so much of city's budgets? If police insist that we need them to prevent criminals from running roughshod over our communities, what exactly are we looking at here?

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  1. In the middle of a war there are always some soldiers who must rest.
    I don’t know the whole story and we never will but when the mayor doesn’t have your back and is keeping you from doing your job other than run around F em take a break now and then.

    1. re: “and we never will”

      Why? Because we are incapable of conducting investigations? Isn’t that one of the things we pay police to be good at?

      This would seem like a pretty simple investigation. 13 interviews asking “why were you there”, “who gave you permission”, “how long had you been on shift”, etc. Any competent supervisor could figure out what really happened in an hour or less.

      Of course, the real story isn’t the cops’ decision to nap but the Police Union president’s reflexive counterattack without any investigation. Arresting officers are constantly telling us that excessive defensiveness is a sign of guilt. In this case, I’m inclined to agree.

      1. We will never know because even if there is an investigation we may never get a honest investigation and if it is a honest investigation the odds of any form of media reporting correctly is more than likely to never happen. that is why will never know.

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      2. Obviously you aren’t familiar with Chicago politics

      3. Bobby Rush is a lying pos. I think it’s funny that the cops used his tax paid apartment for rest.

  2. It is always the obligation of the lowly citizen to apologize to the police for the sin of mere existence.

  3. If you still haven’t grasped the motivations of the Defund Police movement, Chicago has you covered.

    We know the fucking motivations, stop being sanctimonious. We simply think it’s a myopic approach, overly simplified because they want to eat their cake and have it too. They want to pass laws and regulations that force other people to behave how they’re supposed to but they don’t the kinds of people that are going to enforce them.

    1. Because, look, simply cutting the budget isn’t going to suddenly make cops start working harder. What you need is to set up policies that actually allow police officers to be fired or to face disciplinary action when they pull shit like this.

      Get those in place first, shred the unions that make it onerous to deduct pay or benefits from the assholes sleeping on the job, and then you can start looking at trimming the budget. Just ceasing payment isn’t going to make cops behave better.

      1. How do you put a union into a woodchipper? Some of those bosses are kinda plus sized. Gonna need a bigger woodchipper…

        1. ^This.

          IMO the name of the chipper that needs to be used on the police union is M60.

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  4. Why does Bobby need a couch in his office? Did the taxpayers pay for a couch for him to nap on when he should be overseeing how the police and other departments are operating in his city?

    Also cops shouldn’t be sleeping on the job either.

    1. To be honest I thought the current narrative was that good cops should abandon their work and join the protesters. And since enlightened 21st-century protesting involves looting, I think the cops were being very woke.

      1. Well, the cops joined in the looting so maybe you’ve got something there.

        1. that is a lie of satan you idiot.

    2. The taxpayers paid for the popcorn (“my popcorn”) too.

    3. It puts constituents at ease. My elementary school principal also had a couch in her office. One large enough for the kid to sit between their parents. It defused tension rather than a conference table.

  5. One of the first things that soldiers are taught when they report to basic training is this: The military is subservient to the civilian population. Never, ever forget that. That’s one of the reasons we were required to address every civilian as “sir” or “ma’am” — without exception.

    I don’t get the impression that police officers are inculcated with that fundamental principle, which is so vital to the health is a free society.

    1. The problem is that policing is like a permanent outpost in enemy territory. Soldiers really start losing discipline when they’re patrolling enemy territory in front line positions for too long. Good military practices involve rotating units in and out of frontline duty, or sending different units back stateside on occasion for training. There’s also opportunities like shore leave and R&R to help keep units fresh.

      But police officers have a full time job for decades or more. They are in a permanent position of enforcement and it jades them to the point of seeing everyone as a potential enemy. Obviously there’s going to hoards of petty complaints because nobody will enjoy being arrested. Even people who have stolen merchandise in their hands will protest that they didn’t do it.

      1. The problem is that policing is like a permanent outpost in enemy territory.

        Being generous I think this could be better stated. Otherwise, the problem is with this line of thinking. There are absolutely departments and shifts where it is like a permanent outpost in enemy territory, especially in downtown Chicago. But you go out to Huntley or the NW suburbs where any given municipality experiences one murder every 5-10 yrs. and it’s pretty obvious that the ‘permanent outpose in enemy territory’ is more in they eye of the beholder.

        Soldiers at a permanent outpost in enemy territory sleep in a barracks that’s still in enemy territory. Their families don’t sleep in that barracks with them. Pretty much no officer anywhere is forced to sleep in a battle zone and the vast majority sleep with their families well away from any battle zone real or imagined.

        1. How many cops have had to carry the severed limb of a friend back to the precinct with them? Outpost in enemy territory, my ass.

          1. Yeah there’s no violence unless someone loses a limb. Has everyone in the military carried a severed limb?

            1. Intelligent commenters in forum are having to carry R Mac’s severed brain back to base, in hopes that it may be re-connected, and brought to life! There is always hope! Let us all be hope fiends, and get hopped on hope for the brain of the dope!

          2. What I meant to convey is that we don’t deploy soldiers stateside to police our population for this reason-we don’t want them to view the population as the enemy. But too many places are happy to use police to act like a permanent occupying force so they DO end up looking at the population as the enemy.

            1. ^ Yes.

              The ‘Warrior Cop’ mentality, created by the drug war, is the issue and needs to end. Don’t think you can with the current cops.

              Time to flush the system.

        2. Your point is well taken about smaller towns or suburbs. Police brutality is definitely more prevalent in larger cities, but it can be an issue in the burbs as well.

          My point was that police can’t operate like the military. When you send soldiers out to do violence, it’s not in their own neighborhoods, it’s far away. And it’s usually a temporary posting (despite our attempts to keep wars in Afghanistan lasting forever), so they know they can come home when they’re done. Police actually do live where they work, so there’s no off-switch, no change of pace. When violence is sometimes necessary, they’re getting themselves permanently ready to do violence.

          This is why police training needs to be completely redone. It’s not just about respecting the citizens, it’s that they need to think less about “go home at the end of the day no matter what” and more about “De-escalate and don’t pull out your weapon unless you mean to use it.”

          1. Police actually do live where they work

            Very few do, actually. While they may live in New York City, NYPD officers assigned to Bronx precincts rarely live in the Bronx, for example.

            That’s part of the problem too – its like ME militaries that like to assign units from one tribal group to patrol a different tribal group in order to prevent sympathy and familiarity with the locals. Makes it easier to clamp down if necessary.

            1. See above: What I meant to convey is that many places actually USE police as if they’re a permanent occupying force, like they’re a military unit. Though you’re right that often cops live some distance from their beats.

              But the way police are used by governments to enforce compliance is naturally geared toward making them the population as the enemy. They’re in a position where their job is to enforce all the policies of the government and force compliance, willing or otherwise. If we tried to do this with a military unit, they’d see the same breakdowns in discipline. It goes beyond training, it’s the role they’ve been assigned. Which is why we need to take a hard look not just at the training we’ve given the police, or their budgets, but what role they’ve been handed in our society.

              1. Really, the point I should have made is this:

                If you ask a department to violently enforce unpopular policies, don’t be surprised if they act like violent thugs who don’t care what the citizens want.

            2. Replace police with a constitutional sheriff.

              He lives in the community he polices and is accountable to the people through the vote. He has a few professional deputies but uses the power of posse comitatus to deputize local citizens to deal with ugly situations.

              It’s how our law enforcement is supposed to work. City, state and federal police need to go and we need to revive the sheriff.

              1. I would recommend listening to the podcast “In the Dark”. Its got a couple of stories about sheriffs and how well they do their jobs. Being elected also means the sheriff is interested in politics as well, and that ain’t exactly great for justice either.

        3. Sorry. An errant thumb unintentionally flagged your post.

      2. If policing is like occupying a hostile country – then maybe you should step back and ask what you’re doing wrong?

    2. That’s one of the reasons we were required to address every civilian as “sir” or “ma’am” — without exception.

      When were you in? Because we didn’t do that by 1990. Unless you’re talking about the reflexive phone answering spiel? Which wasn’t directed at civilians.

    3. Because that’s not what their politician bosses ask of them

  6. Why are 75 Chicago cops paid to protect the home of Mayor Groot 24/7?

    1. Wait, what?
      PLEASE tell me those cops do not carry those horrible, evil, nasty looking black guns, with REAL bullets.

      1. Yes they DO.. and THEIR black and ugly gus are speshull.. they EVEN have thoe shoulder things that go up. Makes them ten times more deadly. Why, their targets even fold up at the knees when tey SEE wone of those evil nasty mean aggressive black and ugliy guns

  7. Gee, I wonder what could have happened in Chicago in the last week or so that might have made the po-po reluctant to defend the sacred turf of the ward-heeling grifters?

    These guys are lucky their Praetorian Guard just let the mob trash their offices instead of offing them like Caligua.

    1. What Shackford notably leaves out here was Lightfoot and one of Chicago’s aldermen getting into it over the destruction in these neighborhoods, as well as Herhonor and the city’s political leaders begging businesses not to high-tail it out of the city.

      1. Yeah. He’s a disaster. He left out the big UPRR SPRR merger, the lack of trout in the middle lake, and why your momma so fat.

      2. Remember when Rahm Emanuel was in hot water for sitting on the Laquan McDonald footage for a year and fired the Police commissioner as cover? Good thing we elected someone more capable than him.

  8. I am assuming they also have a pretty sweet contract with the city so I don’t know what they could do anyway. If they shrunk the size of the force they would probably still have to pay the officers that have been RIFed for some period of time even if they are not working, my guess is at least for a year or more. Others would just be given early retirement, and I am sure that would be a better deal than most of us would get from our employment. So in exchange for getting some “moral” points they would have the privilege of paying for cops that are not even cops anymore. And from what I know of Illinois law they cannot alter these arraignments after the fact and would have to pay.
    Then after a year when all the smoke clears it will back to business as usual, expanding the police force probably even more than today to respond to the wave of crime that is sure to follow this summer’s unrest.

    1. The RIFs can be assigned duties like painting the rocks white in front of police headquarters, cleaning the mulch in the planter beds, picking up litter, etc.

      A lot of these guys are supposed to be former military, right? Any worthwhile NCO should be able to find something for the troops to do all day. Sometimes its even useful work.

      1. Don’t think you understand what RIFed means (reduction in force), they would no longer be working for the police force, however as with most employees they would be guaranteed “severance pay”. As they are union I am sure it is a sweetheart deal, and since they are government employee unions they are better than we can imagine, say at least two years’ full pay why they “retrain” for new careers. So your cunning plan to have them do manual labor while commendable would not be applicable.

        1. As you point out – those RIFfed likely couldn’t be removed and would have to be paid, at least for a while.

          For that while we don’t have to send them home.

  9. Holy. Fucking. Shit.

    “2020 During Riots Grafting and Shitty Police Work Discovered in CPD! Mayor Astounded!” – Reason Magazine

    I mean FFS. It’s a straight up, no question case of the left eating their own and Reason now, of all the times, Reason can’t bring itself to utter the phrase “Both sides!”.

    The Police officers did this because Lightfoot is a shitty mayor. They did this because they know that as a political body, neither Lightfoot nor Rush can touch them. This is true because Lightfoot and Rush are really not that much bigger cogs in the machine than these layabout officers.

    The fact that Reason treats this like a few bad cops is retarded.

    1. I mean FFS it’s not like a couple cops just happened to discover this was Bobby Rush’s offices in the middle of a riot. 13 officers and 3 commanders showed up there pretty much together. We didn’t get video because those guy’s knew exactly which cabinet the popcorn was kept in and how to operate the microwave. They knew this shit because up until George Floyd was killed, both Rush and Lightfoot liked it that way.

      1. I was going say something along these lines. Democrat run towns are turning their back on cops so it’s not a surprise cops are gonna, erm, return the favor is some form or another.

        Also, now Rush knows a little bit how business owners feel now watching their private property be destroyed without even an attempt to protect them.

        What a bunch of miscreants. All of them. Pure scum.

        And Lightfoot looks like a character from Beetlejuice.

        1. There’s an awesome South Park episode about this. (Of course).

    2. The Police officers did this because Lightfoot is a shitty mayor.
      That didn’t enter their mind when they did it.
      They did this because they know that as a political body, neither Lightfoot nor Rush can touch them.
      Exactly. No accountability.

  10. Chicago cops have always been corrupt. Hell, the whole city government is corrupt. It’s the Chicago way.

  11. >>grasped the motivations of the Defund Police movement

    laws at me but not at thee?

  12. And yet, no mention of the unusual fact that no dogs were shot.
    Are they all dead now? Is that why?

  13. If they’re not actually preventing or fighting crime, why are they consuming so much of city’s budgets?

    Look, the rioting has disrupted a lot of otherwise reliable revenue streams. Let’s hold off judgment on the question of why police until we’re back to business as usual and law enforcement can resume their normal activities of collecting rent for the city.

  14. Well, this is Chicago. Is there a better example of how retarded a police force can become? It doesn’t surprise me this shit happened IN CHICAGO. I expect it there.

  15. If cops are napping and snacking, that means they are not committing home invasion robberies nor stomping barmaids.

    1. True, but I still don’t want them to earn a salary being inoffensive.

      1. Like everything else in America, this has become a binary choice. Choose wisely or face a firing squad.

    2. Yeah, I thought their standing down while the righteous rioters did their thing would get nothing but praise from pandering, woke city hall. WTF?

  16. It is human nature to, at first, get into a profession to “help people” and then, once there, realize that nobody else in that profession is helping people and that everyone else in that profession is getting away with as much as they can as often as they can and just waiting for that glorious, glorious day when they can get a state retirement and suck at the taxpayers teat for doing nothing while at the same time brag about how they “served their community” and expect people to still thank them for their service.

  17. How much do you want to bet if those cops had arrested or otherwise tried to disperse the looters Bobby and Mayor Lightfoot would be condemning their targeting of “peaceful protestors”

    1. Haha. Yup. Damned if ya do…….., etc.

  18. Rush only learned about the officers’ activities later, after someone reviewed the surveillance footage.

    I hope you’re keeping up on this story – because its looking like that’s not really the case.

    1. Rush is a notorious liar and racebaiter.

    2. Its looking like one of his staffers let the cops in and they were assigned to protect that office.

    3. With no food delivered and no way to get food, they made some popcorn and took a nap. I can honestly, as much as I want to shit on cops right now, I can honestly not find any particular fault with that. Having been in situation where you have long, stressful days and you don’t know when the next time you’ll be able to sleep – I would absolutely have been rotating my team through naps and sneaking some popcorn if that was all there was to eat.

    Not every cop needs to be on the street 24/7. You need to rotate people off the line to manage fatigue and keep them operating at peak and you need reserves positioned and ready to surge in response to events.

    1. Apologize on behalf of the officers but note that they were under significant stress and exhaustion over their duties.

      It would figure that a union asshole couldn’t take the non-asshole route.

    2. 1. Rush is a notorious liar and racebaiter.

      I almost forgot this gem of racial profiling*.

      *NB: According to the video, Rush is driving around uninsured. A situation we plebs, even white ones, don’t generally stroll away from.

    3. Wouldnt be shocked at all of this is the end story. Just like the dumb defund the police cory council member and her 2 cops poster outsider her house all day.

      Of course Reason jumped in with the Twitter mob.

  19. I don’t want to say this isn’t an annoyance, but I would just like to point out that so far Reason has been far more critical of the cops just sitting around not attacking people in this article than they have been of a bunch of socialist hooligans that have literally gifted themselves several city blocks of Seattle. Food for thought.

    1. I think the verdict is still out.

      My prediction is that they start killing themselves over resources or someone finally wades in, crushes some skulls, and returns the property to the property owners.

      Not sure how it will go. But either way, the left will spin it so that orange man bad.

  20. They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves and to pop popcorn—my popcorn—in my microwave

    So they’re looters who fund themselves through extortion? Where have I heard that before?

  21. Not a huge fan of Chicago PD, but since I suspect their rules of engagement vis a vis the riots amount to ‘do nothing without orders’ followed by no orders, what the hell do you except them to be doing?

    1. I mean, they’re absolutely complying with the prior shelter in place order.

  22. If they’re not actually preventing or fighting crime, why are they consuming so much of city’s budgets? If police insist that we need them to prevent criminals from running roughshod over our communities, what exactly are we looking at here?

    The courts all the way up to SCOTUS have repeatedly ruled that cops have NO duty to prevent or fight crime, NO duty to protect people or property.

    They aren’t heroes, they are glorified janitors. Their only job is to take out the trash after the party is over, and they aren’t very good at that.

  23. “We can chill out here with coffee and popcorn, or we can go out on the street and get accused of racism for defending ourselves and quite possibly get hurt.”

    Some choice.

    1. No.

      It’s uphold the oath or don’t. The ridicule, the bullets, the risk are of no consequence.

      The oath matters above all or get the eff out of the uniform.

  24. Napping? Snacking? What do you want them to do?

    First you tell them not to police. Then you complain that they’re asleep or eating on the job.

    Make up your mind.

  25. Well that was a lazy-ass cheap shot. Why don’t you dox him while you’re at it?

    Thanks for joining the unReasoning mob like a true shitstain. And all for nothing, because in the end you don’t really have the courage of your convictions. The fact is the party of the mob control these cities, their legislatures, and in many of them the state offices as well. If the Democrats wanted to the “defund” police or cut their numbers in half or anything else they could just do it, and very quickly.

    But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is to fire up the mob to a fever pitch, get them really rolling, and then use that mob as a tool to enact unconstitutional speech and gun restrictions, and change the laws to give Democrats election advantages.

  26. Hey Looters , Bobby Rush has a microwave in his office AND popcorn.

  27. Yeah, Reason – we get it. Police are bad, horrible, terrible, awful, always wrong, disgusting, violent, etc. And your tunnel vision on the topic is boring as shit. Next, please.

  28. Don’t defund police DEPARTMENTS, defund INDIVIDUAL officers who have been caught loafing, abusing the system, shucking their duty, turning a blind eye to what they OUGHT be doing…. in other words, take the bad apples out of the barrel, run them through the crusher, and go find some new good apples.

    And END this (Imma Copper so I doan haffta take NO responsibility for my actions/inactions) immunity nonsense.

    If I’mdriving truck for someone and I blow it, their unsurance will likelky pay for the damage I did, but I’ll also at least as likely lose that job ANd my commercial ticket. No more big rigs for me.
    WHY are these employees any different? THEY WORK FOR US. If they don’t “work” for us, can them and find someone who WILL. Simple. We need to do what Trump used to do on his silly TeeVee show… identify the dead weight, get in their face, and say YOU’RE FIRED.

  29. what exactly are we looking at here?

    Entitled children being asked to step up and instead acting like entitled children.

    It used to be that we had a small percentage of bad kids in schools. Then we mandated school and lowered the bar so that ALL kids could feel special and participate. Then we coddled them and defended every stupid thing they did so they could graduate.

    Same thing happened to the cops. Now that the cop recruits are coming in from the disastrous school situation, the issue has magnified.

    Root cause, public unions and policing of ‘social crimes’.

  30. Well, this is the situation we all have to deal with every single day. So far, I like reading this article and I want to know more information about it. Thank you for sharing this news with us.

  31. Cops just happen to be at Rush’s office? Sure. Spin all they want.

  32. What’s worse, a few cops lounging around or the mayor and that loser Bobby Rush completely ruining the cities financials and overburdening it’s residents with useless fees and taxes?

  33. These fucking idiots. Defund the government. Defund the media. Defund me. Defund humanity.

    Go defund yourself.

  34. Chicagocops are now required to work 12 hour shifts with no off days without long scheduled approved vacations. So 80 hour workweeks in a combat zone, and they can’t take a break? Remember all those pieces on how horrible Amazon was for making it’s workers walk at a reasonable pace for 7 hours per day….

  35. These cops have been standing on the front lines for weeks in 90 plus degree weather. The City cancelled all vacations and off days. Some officers have constantly worked 18-24 hour shifts or more. They have been constantly outmanned at times and shot at and things thrown at them constantly and at times they have had to take cover inside businesses. While your are sitting in the comfort of your home binge watching netflix and posting hateful political comments and stories. You are dam skippy they are going to catch a power nap and eat snacks when they get chance here and there inside the places like a war zone while the other Officer posts guard duty. They are not robots

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