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Chicago Police Board considers fate of controversial union president at Monday hearing

John Catanzara is facing possible termination over a series of obscene and inflammatory social-media posts.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara walks with a supporter into his police board hearing Monday morning in the Loop.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara walks with a supporter into his police board hearing Monday morning in the Loop.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A hearing scheduled Monday with the Chicago Police Board could determine the future of embattled Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara with the Chicago Police Department.

Catanzara, the fiery first-term president of the Chicago police union representing rank-and-file officers, is facing possible termination over a series of obscene and inflammatory social-media posts.

In all, he’s accused of violating 11 CPD rules in connection with 18 allegations that include making false reports and being insubordinate or disrespectful to supervisors.

In one post, according to records from the Police Board, Catanzara wrote: “Wtf its [sic] seriously time to kill these motherf———,” though it was not clear who Catanzara was referring to. Catanzara previously said the comment was made in reference to people who have killed police officers.

In several other posts, Catanzara suggested someone perform a sex act on him, referred to Muslims as “savages” and called a superior officer in the CPD “spineless,” records show.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown filed the charges against Catanzara, with the recommendation of termination, in January. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability had previously recommended that Catanzara be fired for his comments.

Since he joined the department in 1995, Catanzara has been one of its most frequently disciplined members. Last year, he became the first president of the FOP to be elected while stripped of his police powers.

Catanzara has remained at odds with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, often criticizing her for her response to crime. Most recently, the two have butt heads over the city’s vaccine mandate.

In a video published to the FOP’s YouTube channel Friday, Catanzara accused the mayor of wanting to make a “circus” out of his case.

“She has made it very clear that I am not going to win this case, that I will never be in a police uniform again,” Catanzara said. “I guess we shall see if the members of the Police Board are going to do the right thing or do what they’re told. Time will tell.”

The hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m.