Fraternal Order of Police president apologizes for comments comparing city employee vaccine mandate to Nazi Germany

In an apology posted Friday on YouTube, John Catanzara said, “I should not have made the reference like I did to the showers, and for that I’m sorry.”

SHARE Fraternal Order of Police president apologizes for comments comparing city employee vaccine mandate to Nazi Germany
John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.

Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara apologized Friday for comments he made earlier this week to the Sun-Times comparing the city’s employee vaccine mandate to Nazi Germany.

Catanzara had expressed outrage over the new city COVID-19 vaccine mandate using language condemned by the Anti-Defamation League and others: “We’re in America, G-ddamn it. We don’t want to be forced to do anything. Period. This ain’t Nazi f---ing Germany, [where they say], ‘Step into the f---ing showers. The pills won’t hurt you.’ What the f—k?”

In a video posted to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7’s YouTube channel, Catanzara said, “Those members of the Jewish community, in no way was I trying to tie forced vaccinations to the atrocities of the Holocaust, which is why I never used the word Holocaust. I should not have made the reference like I did to the showers, and for that I’m sorry.”

He said he didn’t think the comments would make it into the paper.

“Some of the quotes that were attributed to me, I’m not gonna say I didn’t say them, cause I did,” Catanzara said.

He then tried to explain his comparison.

“When governments, whether it’s Nazi Germany or modern-day Chicago, try to start, or any other major city like New York and many others who are doing this, try to create policies that mandate their employees first to have to do things to their bodies it will not stop there,” he said. “You are opening up the door for the citizens to be next.”

Catanzara says he’s received the COVID-19 vaccine but stands behind those who’ve chosen not to.

“That was a personal choice I made because I want to be able to travel without restrictions. That’s why I got the COVID shot. Many others decided not to, and I absolutely respect and understand their position on why they don’t want to do it,” he said.

The city’s employee vaccine mandate takes effect Oct. 15. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said it’s a “condition of employment,” stopping short of saying workers would be fired if they didn’t comply.

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