Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker were accused Thursday of spreading a “false” narrative about the police shooting of Breonna Taylor to drive up African-American support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Hours after a Louisville grand jury decided not to charge any of the three officers involved for the shooting death of Taylor and charged only one of them with reckless endangerment of Taylor’s neighbors, Lightfoot, Pritzker and other elected officials held a news conference to call it a travesty of justice.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara thinks he knows why. It has more to do with presidential politics than it does with the racial reckoning triggered by the death of George Floyd, he said.
“They’re trying to incite anger and get people riled up to make sure they show up to the polls. Police are the boogie man. Black people are oppressed. Black people are shot and killed all the time. We need to rise up. Make sure you go to the voting booth,” Catanzara said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
An outspoken Trump supporter whose union has endorsed the President for re-election, Catanzara said, “It’s disgusting. They’re really willing to sell their souls for an election because they hate the President that much.”
As an attorney and a former Police Board president, he argued Lightfoot should know better than to “twist” facts to support her political argument.
“She should keep her mouth shut and know the facts first. It’s not in her purview. She’s never held a gun and gotten shot at. I don’t want to hear anything about it when she talks about procedure or law enforcement. In that realm, the saying is, `Book smart. Street stupid.’ Being in uniform and being a police officer is entirely different than reading about it or theorizing about it.”
The mayor’s office responded with a brief statement: “We refuse to be a part of a race to the bottom and will not dignify Mr. Catanzara’s comments.”
Catanzara saved a few harsh words for Illinois’ billionaire governor.
“Pritzker is another one. He’s been spoon-fed since birth. Talk about white privilege. What does he know about the real world? He has no clue whatsoever,” Catanzara said.
Taylor was shot multiple times March 13 by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The use of no-knock warrants was subsequently banned by Louisville’s Metro Council.
The warrant used was connected to a suspect who did not live there. No drugs were found inside.
Catanzara maintained the decision by the Louisville grand jury was correct, and the only one possible, based on the facts — not the politics.
He argued the three officers were “there on a viable warrant” and it wasn’t executed as a no-knock warrant because “they knocked. They announced that they were the police.”
“The boyfriend who fired the shots — he can say all he wants that he thought they were being robbed. But they announced they were police. He still shot at people coming through the door saying they were police,” Catanzara said.