CPD officers cleared of racial profiling allegations made by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Two Chicago Police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing after U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush claimed he had been racially profiled during a traffic stop last summer, according to a police spokesman.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday that after a review by the department's Bureau of Internal Affairs, the two Wentworth District officers had probable cause to make the stop.
Rush was driving his Lexus RX450h shortly before 3 p.m. on Aug. 4 in the 4700 block of South King Drive when he was pulled over by the officers who were on the lookout for high-end vehicles due to a series of thefts on the South Side.
A police dispatcher notified the officers that the license plate on Rush's vehicle was registered to a different vehicle.
A video obtained by FOX 32 News through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that the officers remained calm throughout the traffic stop though Rush became agitated about the reasons he was pulled over.
The congressman filed a complaint against the officers within an hour of the stop, claiming he was pulled over because of the color of his skin.
Guglielmi said the video footage obtained from one of the officers body camera's demonstrated the officers acted professionally.
"CPD holds itself to the highest level of integrity and professional standards. "The video footage from this traffic stop provides a firsthand look into the professional actions of Chicago police officers that occur throughout the city every day," Guglielmi said. "It also displays the value of body-worn camera technology that allows us to ensure investigations are guided by the facts, provide officers due process, and protect the civil rights of every Chicagoan. When officers are accused of misconduct, they are held accountable for their actions but when officers demonstrate professionalism and respect, we stand behind their actions."
In the approximately 7 1/2-minute video, Rush says the SUV is a "government leased vehicle."
While Rush has a congressional plate with the number "1", there is another vanity "1" plate that belongs to a man on the Near North Side, perhaps explaining the confusion.
According to the video, one of the officers tells Rush that the plates on his Lexus didn't match his vehicle but instead were registered to a Cadillac.
Guglielmi told the Tribune he couldn't say whether the dispatcher mixed up the plates, leading the officer's to believe Rush's vehicle had the wrong plates displayed.
During the stop, the female officer was at all times polite.
FOX 32: What do you think the police officers did wrong?
“Well, I think that their biases and their prejudices came into play,” Rush said. “I just want them to be on point, to know that every car that looks good in the black community, is driving on 47th street or any other street is not driving a criminal,” Rush said.
Congressman Rush says this incident should serve as a bigger message to police about racial profiling.
“This is an action that leads to the misunderstanding, the lack of respect and the lack of belief and faith in the Chicago Police Department,” Rush said.