Chicago’s head of police union to retire as a cop and run for mayor against far-left, police bashing Lightfoot

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CHICAGO, IL — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot might face a very vocal opponent if she decides to seek re-election in 2023.

While Lightfoot hasn’t confirmed she is definitely running for mayor again, her potential opponent is one who she is awkwardly familiar with – Chicago Police Officer John Catanzara.

Catanzara, who has been an officer since 1995 and the president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) since May of 2020, recently announced he was retiring on Nov. 16 and then planning to run for mayor in 2023.

A race between Lightfoot and Catanzara would be interesting as the two have butted heads, most recently on her controversial vaccine mandate for all city employees.

Under Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate, all city employees need to be fully vaccinated or submit to testing through the end of the year.

Catanzara, as head of the police union, has led several protests against the mayor’s order, WLS-TV reported.

Catanzara has encouraged his members to defy the city’s mandate, leading Lightfoot to accuse him of trying to “induce an insurrection.”

Last month, a judge ruled that she would not extend a temporary restraining order against Catanzara that banned him from making public statements, which encouraged police officers to resist the vaccine mandate, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Tribune had reported that at least 23 Chicago police officers within the department of 13,000 cops were on no-pay status for not complying with the city’s order to report if they had been vaccinated.

Earlier this year, the mayor indicated in a New York Times interview that she might not run for re-election in 2023, saying it’s “not a gimme” that she’ll seek a second term. Lightfoot said she would make a future decision with her wife “at an appropriate time.”

During an unrelated news conference, Lightfoot confirmed she might not seek re-election and acknowledged that the past year has been tough, according to a report by Chicago Tribune.

Lightfoot said:

“When you come into office you have a vision of where you want to go, and I certainly had that myself. I still do.

“But the world and fate has a funny way of leading you in a different direction.

“Sixteen months into a global pandemic, a massive economic dislocation, surging violence, it’s not a gimme.”

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Despite being cautious about her re-election aspirations, Lightfoot has been raising money aggressively over the past year and believes in “being prepared,” Chicago Tribune reported.

However, a recent polling company that has been tracking the mayor’s standing with Chicago voters said that for the first time, nearly half of Chicagoans oppose rather than favor a second term for her.

FOX 32 in Chicago reported:

“Asked if Lightfoot deserves a second term at City Hall, just 26% said ‘yes;’ 46% said ‘no,’ with 28% responding ‘not sure.’

“The survey which questioned 401 respondents was done by pollster Ogden & Fry, owned by Republican activist Matt Podgorski of the Northwest Side.

 “The respondents were selected by random sampling of likely voters and the margin of error was plus-or-minus 4.99 percentage points.”

Those poll numbers could indicate that residents are ready for a change in leadership.

Treading less lightly than the mayor, Catanzara followed an unusual path and boldly announced both his retirement and mayoral plans during a disciplinary hearing that was held on Nov. 15.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, Catanzara said:

“I’m running against the mayor to change this damn city and the direction it’s on because she [Lightfoot] is literally not steering it into an iceberg — she is literally telling them full steam ahead.

“So, something’s gotta change and apparently nobody else seems too concerned about it, so we’ll see where we go from here.”

The disciplinary hearing involved allegations that Catanzara filed a false police report against now-disgraced former Superintendent Eddie Johnson for participating in an anti-violence march on the Dan Ryan expressway in July of 2018, according to a report by WGN9.

According to a separate report by WGN9, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown filed administrative misconduct charges with the police board accusing Catanzara of multiple rules violations and recommending that the officer be discharged from the department:

“The violations, originally put forth by former interim superintendent Charlie Beck, allege Catanzara filed a false police report against former police Supt. Eddie Johnson for his participation in an anti-violence march that took place on the Dan Ryan expressway in July of 2018.” 

Catanzara allegedly said Superintendent Johnson had broken the law when he allowed people to wrongfully march on the highway, according to WGN9’s report.

WGN9 also reported that Catanzara called the move to fire him hypocritical at a time when Superintendent Brown was promoting police reforms, such as encouraging officers to report suspected misconduct by members of their own department.

Catanzara told WGN9:

“All I was doing is calling out wrongdoing in the department which they claim is something they want.”

Officer Catanzara was suspended without pay for at least 30 days, according to WGN9’s report, and it is the third time that the police department has tried to fire him.

Previous charges alleged that Catanzara made racial and other offensive remarks on social media while he was still in uniform, according to WGN9.

The charges include a dozen social media posts made between 2016 and 2018 which are said to violate police department guidelines.

There was also allegedly a photo the department said depicted Catanzara making a political statement in uniform, according to WGN9. Several posts disparaged police bosses — one called them “spineless” — according to the report.

The report also noted that in 2017, Catanzara supposedly reacted to a story about mutilation by Muslim extremists by allegedly writing, “Savages they all deserve a bullet.”

A year earlier, Catanzara reportedly responded to another story about the shooting of an officer and allegedly wrote, “Seriously time to kill these mother ——.”

Catanzara told WGN9 he did not regret his posts before he became the FOP president:

“There’s nothing to defend. Anyone who is okay with the wanton murder of police officers is a piece of garbage to me, if you think that’s okay.

“I have no regrets about that post. Would I post that now? No, of course I’d be more tactful in my comments now. I wasn’t president then.”

In addition, Catanzara was also criticized for comments he made to a local radio station about the people who stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.

Catanzara was accused of downplaying their behavior, but later took back his remarks, according to WGN9.

When the city attorney completed questioning Catanzara at the  Nov. 15 hearing, the FOP president informed the Chicago Police Board that he would be retiring on Nov. 16, WGN9 reported.

The report also noted that FOP bylaws do not preclude Officer Catanzara from remaining president of the police union after he retires.

After Catanzara’s retirement announcement, the hearing was suspended and both sides met with Lauren Freeman, the hearing officer overseeing the case, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

Freeman later announced that a conference call would be held on Tuesday morning to determine if Catanzara had submitted his retirement paperwork. If so, his case would be closed, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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