Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara announced his intended resignation Monday during a Chicago Police Board hearing. The announcement came towards the end of Monday’s hearing. The hearing is set to continue through Wednesday. Catanzara called the proceedings a “charade” during a press conference saying that the outcome was already decided. “Many already know I informed them with my intention to retire first thing tomorrow morning and put an end to this charade, which we already knew what the outcome was going to be.”
Catanzara is facing eleven counts of repeated misconduct. The counts include disobedience, inaptitude, insubordination, and partisan political actions. This hearing is the third in Catanzara’s career as a Chicago police officer. Catanzara is also accused of making inflammatory and crass comments on Facebook. In 2016 Catanzara made a post suggesting the killing of unknown suspects after a Wayne State University officer was shot. In 2017 he used a derogatory term against Muslims and commented they “all deserve a bullet.” The remarks were posted before he was elected FOP president.
Despite having had both his badge and gun privileges stripped Catanzara won his campaign for FOP president in 2020. During his run, he vowed to be a formidable opponent of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. He oftentimes sparred with Lightfoot over hotbed issues like the consent decree, the protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and the insurrection at the U. S. Capitol. Most recently Catanzara urged police officers to ignore Mayor Lightfoot’s’ vaccine mandate, comparing it to Nazi Germany. Catanzara falsely informed officers that no disciplinary action could be taken for non-compliance and encouraged them to not disclose their vaccination status.
His contempt for Lightfoot was evident in his remarks made at Monday’s press conference. “There was never a possibility under God’s green earth that I was ever going to give this mayor the ability to utter the words I fired him. It was not going to happen. Period.”
Catanzara is also accused of filing false complaints against former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson, and another former supervisor. In 2018 he accused Johnson of criminal trespass after an anti-violence protest on the Dan Ryan expressway.
In opening remarks, Jim Lydon attorney for CPD Superintendent David Brown, commented on Catanzara’s character and behavior saying, “This case is about an officer, John Catanzara, who violated the rules of conduct in efforts to bring attention to himself and, in the process, thumb his nose at superior officers and department directives along the way.”
Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer and journalist based in Chicago. Find her on social @beboldshineon.