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Chicago FOP President Could Be Fired For Social Media Posts

Chicago, IL – The Chicago Police Board ruled on Dec. 17 that the president of the police union should undergo a hearing to determine if he’ll be fired from the Chicago Police Department for posts he made on Facebook.

The hearing will focus on posts written by Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John Catanzara between November of 2016 and February of 2018, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Chicago Police Board records provided some examples of the social media posts in question.

“Wtf its [sic] seriously time to kill these mother–kers,” Catanzara wrote on one occasion.

He told the Chicago Sun-Times on Dec. 17 that he was referring to people who have murdered police officers in that comment.

Catanzara called a police official “spineless” in another post and suggested someone perform a sex act on him in another, according to the police board’s records.

He also allegedly wrote “savages they all deserve a bullet” which the complaint said was biased against Muslims but didn’t provide furhter context, WGN reported.

Police board records also showed that Catanzara had posted a picture of himself in his Chicago Police Department uniform making a political statement, which is a direct violation of the department’s policy.

There was no agreement from authorities on how to discipline the union president for his controversial posts, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts recommended that Catanzara be fired from the police force.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said he thought the union president’s actions merited a one-year suspension from the police department, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Their disagreement triggered a process by which one randomly-selected member of the Chicago Police Board appointed by the mayor would decide whether the case should be advanced to an evidentiary hearing.

Chicago Police Board member Andrea Zopp announced on Dec. 17 that she had concluded it merited the hearing, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The action against the police union boss comes at a time when the city and the FOP are in discussions over a new contract for officers.

Their last contract expired three-and-a-half year ago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Catanzara said the timing of the announcement was “beyond suspicious,” WGN reported.

“The timing is beyond suspicious. It was rendered by a Rahm Emmanuel disciple which was supposedly ‘random,’ he said. “Our members have not received any fairness from COPA or the Police Board for several years now. To think I will get a fair hearing is beyond ridiculous.”

“There is no level of fairness that would even be attached to any of this,” the union president told the Chicago Sun-Times.

It’s not the first time that Catanzara has faced discipline from the Chicago Police Department.

He was one of the most frequently sanctioned officers on the force before he was elected president of the FOP in May, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Catanzara also holds the distinction of being the only union president to get elected while he was stripped of his police powers by a disciplinary action.

The new union boss has clashed repeatedly with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and accused her of micromanaging the police department and treating the police superintendent like a figurehead, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Catanzara also wrote a letter to President Donald Trump pleading for federal intervention to stop the city’s skyrocketing gun violence.

The full police board will make the final decision about what to do with Catanzara after the evidentiary hearing, WGN reported.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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