Chicago police union boss sympathizes with Trump protesters, rejects comparisons of Capitol riot to BLM

Chicago News

CHICAGO — One of President Trump’s most vocal supporters in Chicago says some of the blame for the siege of the United States Capitol rests with the commander-in-chief; but John Catanzara says it’s wrong to discount the frustrations of the more than 70 million Americans who voted for the president.

“Do I get why people showed up there? Absolutely. Do I agree with their frustration? I share it 100-percent,” Catanzara told WGN.

The tough-talking head of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge has a Trump flag on his desk and a framed picture of a presidential tweet praising him. He has attended Trump rallies and is even facing discipline for posting a photo to social media appearing to praise the president’s message while in uniform.

Like the president himself, Catanzara questions the legitimacy of the vote count.

“I don’t agree with storming the building at all,” Catanzara said. “The president has to own a little responsibility for that. His words in that rally did not help…they only made it worse. But they don’t get total blame. We’re talking about adults. Personal responsibility goes a long way with me.”

Many have questioned the flat-footed response of U.S. Capitol Police and the fact so few were arrested for storming the building.

It’s drawn comparisons to the heavy-handed response to Black Lives Matters protests in Washington, D.C. this summer that included tear gas, military helicopters, mass arrests and violent encounters between police and protesters.

“People always want to make it a racial thing,” Catanzara responded.

He argues the apparently pro-Trump rioters who crashed the Capitol were nowhere near as violent as demonstrators in other cities.

“Even the ones going after officers, I didn’t see any of them throwing frozen bottles, bricks or shooting fireworks at police. They were simply pushing past police to get access to the building,” Catanzara said. “Still criminal behavior, no doubt. But that’s not the level of violence we saw across many parts of the country this summer. It was totally different.”

More than 50 U.S. Capitol and Washington, D.C metro police officers were injured in the Capitol attack. Several were hospitalized with injuries described as “serious.” Some report being hit with lead pipes.

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