Police union boss under fire: ‘I’ll resign under one condition’

Chicago News
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CHICAGO — WGN Investigates has the latest on the long-running feud between the city and the combative head of the police union.

WGN reported Thursday the police board is considering firing John Catanzara from the force over a series of social media posts.

On Friday, Catanzara offered to resign as a cop, under one condition.

“I will resign my spot at CPD effective immediately if they give our officers the retro pay they deserve. Period. You want me gone from the police department? There’s the gauntlet. Call my bluff. I dare you,” Catanzara said.

The fiery Fraternal Order of Police president has been clashing with police brass and City Hall since long before he took the reigns of the union.

Now the police board is considering firing Catanzara for more than a dozen social media posts he made between 2016 and 2018 that may violate department guidelines.

“This is coming specifically from the city. There’s no other way to slice it,” Catanzara said.

There was a photo the department said depicted him making a political statement in uniform. Several posts disparaged police bosses, one called them “spineless.”

In 2017, reacting to a story about mutilation by Muslim extremists, Catanzara wrote, “savages they all deserve a bullet.”

A year earlier, Catanzara said he was responding to a story about the shooting of an officer when he wrote: “seriously time to kill these mother ——.”

“There’s nothing to defend. Anyone who is okay with the wonton murder of police officers is a piece of garbage to me if you think that’s okay. I have no regrets about that post,” Catanzara said. “Would I post that now? No, of course I’d be more tactful in my comments now.  I wasn’t president then.”

Catanzara has clashed with Mayor Lori Lightfoot repeatedly.

In July, WGN Investigates reported on text messages between the two after a series of protests in which officers were pelted with rocks and other objects.

The back and forth ended with the mayor texting Catanzara, “You are now officially a clown.” 

“Class act mayor,” he responded.

Previous superintendents have tried to fire Catanzara before, including for an incident in which he was found working a side job while on medical leave.

This time, CPD Supt. David Brown recommended Catanzara be suspended for a year for the social media posts. It’s the police board administrator who is pushing for his firing.

It’s important to note, if Catanzara retired tomorrow he could still continue to lead the police union.

As for the decision to fire him, the full police board will consider it in the weeks to come.

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