John Catanzara, the controversial leader of Chicago’s largest police officers union, announced his impending resignation from the CPD on Monday.
Speaking to the Chicago Police Board at an evidence hearing, Catanzara said he would file his retirement papers at CPD headquarters “first thing in the morning” on Tuesday.
“It was pretty obvious early on that this cake was already baked,” Catanzara said.
According to the union’s statutes, the FOP’s board of directors could allow a former member of the department to retain a union leadership position.
Catanzara’s announcement came after he was confronted with questions from a town lawyer during an evidentiary hearing that was allegedly used to determine his future with the CPD.
Catanzara, who joined the department in 1995, has been accused of violating a host of CPD rules with vulgar and inflammatory comments that were made on Facebook in the years leading up to his election as President of the FOP.
He was also accused of inappropriately filing complaints against one of his previous supervisors, as well as the former superintendent CPD. Eddie Johnson for his involvement in a 2018 anti-violence march on the Dan Ryan Freeway.
“This case concerns an officer, John Catanzara, who broke the rules of conduct by trying to draw attention to himself and in doing so, thumbed his nose at senior officers and the directives of the current department. away, “Jim Lydon, an attorney representing DPC Superintendent David Brown, said Monday in his opening statement.
The typically brash Catanzara brushed off several questions posed by Lydon, although he freely admitted that he had filed one complaint against Johnson and then another against his former commander after that commander killed the other complaint against Johnson.
Catanzara smiled at several of the questions, sometimes leaning back in her chair or resting her head in one of her hands.
Catanzara, who has faced dozens of misconduct allegations throughout his career, was elected President of the Fraternal Order of Police last year, and he would be the first union leader to hold the post. while deprived of his police powers.
Before Catanzara’s announcement at the end of Monday’s debates, the city was seeking to have him fired. Currently, the CPD pays his salary, although it is reimbursed by the FOP. The statutes of the Union stipulate that the dismissal of the department would not completely prevent Catanzara from continuing as president of the FOP.
Catanzara has remained a frequent training partner with Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Earlier this year, he encouraged officers to evade a warrant that required all city employees to disclose their immunization status.
Tim Grace, an attorney for the FOP, said the city’s strategy in the Catanzara case was “a lot of approach” throw it all in the wall and see what sticks. ”Grace called Catanzara a“ classic whistleblower ”who sought to hold CPD bosses to account.
“The evidence will show that he fought against the hypocrisy and shortcomings of the Chicago Police Department during his 27-year career as a police officer,” Grace added.
The evidence hearing was scheduled to last until Wednesday, but these proceedings would be moot if and when Catanzara keeps his promise to retire.
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