It is a sad time to be a good cop in America.
Because no matter what a good cop does, a bad cop shows up.
A good cop stands nose to nose with an angry protester spitting insults and he or she doesn’t flinch; then a bad cop knocks down a 70-something-year-old man who is trying to support the new civil rights movement.
A good cop takes a knee, or hugs a protester, or marches lock-step with a crowd of young blacks under the “Black Lives Matter” banner, then a bad cop gives the whole world the finger by flipping off a protester in a crowd where everyone is live-streaming every step.
So the allegation that Chicago police officers made themselves at home in Congressman Bobby Rush’s burglarized campaign office located in a South Side strip mall that was being looted is not as shocking as it is galling.
According to Rush, 13 Chicago police officers — including three supervisors — slept on a couch, popped popcorn and drank coffee while looters ransacked the strip mall where Rush’s campaign office is located.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has vowed to track down the officers involved. Discipline will be forthcoming.
“You know who you are. You know what you did. Don’t make us come find you,” the mayor said, during an emotional news conference.
While she’s at it, maybe she could track down the police officers that should have been at the Jewel-Osco store on 75th Street and Stony Island Avenue when it was being looted in broad daylight on June 1.
The looting was so brazen, with people calmly entering the store and exiting the grocery store pushing overflowing shopping carts, it looked like a fire sale.
There wasn’t a cop in sight.
According to the mayor, the police officers that were in Rush’s campaign office in the Grand Boulevard Plaza at 54th and Wentworth for “four or five” hours “came in and out,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
I have to digress here: Are bad cops just dumb cops?
I mean, shouldn’t they have known the congressman’s campaign office would have a security camera? Even if there is a legitimate explanation as to why the police officers were holed up in the congressman’s campaign office while all hell was breaking loose next door, shouldn’t at least one supervisor have reached out to the congressman to explain the circumstances?
The irony is striking.
In the midst of a violent uprising, where property was being stolen and/or destroyed, these cops chose to camp out in the office of not just a congressman, but a former ranking member of the Black Panther Party.
Is there anyone in America who doesn’t know about the enmity that existed between the Black Panther Party and police?
Rush certainly hasn’t forgotten.
“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, within their reach. They were in a moment of relaxation and they didn’t care about what was happening to business people in this city. They absolutely didn’t care,” he said.
Talk about baptism by fire.
First, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown had to bear the brunt of the criticism leveled at the mayor over how police officers were deployed during the violent protests—decisions that left some neighborhoods on the South and West sides without grocery stores and pharmacies.
Now he has to punish his troops for taking naps, popping popcorn and drinking coffee during the worst spate of civil unrest this city has endured since the 60’s.
“Let’s now be the good cops who hold the bad cops accountable by rooting them out of this profession,” he told his commanders in a meeting Thursday, the Sun-Times reported.
I don’t know whether the cops captured in the video that has sparked outrage and embarrassment at City Hall are good cops or bad cops.
Still, the insensitivity these cops showed during the unrest has made it that much harder for a good cop to do his or her job.