Chicago Fraternal Order of Police union president John Catanzara says he's retiring from CPD
CHICAGO - Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara announced on Monday that he is retiring from the Chicago Police Department, right after the first day of his termination hearing.
He said that his retirement would be effective on Tuesday.
"The consideration wasn't that difficult to make. There was no way that the mayor could ever be allowed to utter the words that I was fired," Catanzara said in a video posted to YouTube Monday night.
Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, said he felt the outcome of the proceedings against him was predetermined, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"It was pretty evident very early on that this cake was already baked," Catanzara said, "I am going to be at HR first thing in the morning, and I am going to be retiring. I will no longer be a Chicago police officer. … No one will be able to touch me, not you, not this police board."
Earlier, during his testimony, Catanzara had said: "I don’t deny that the language used would be categorized as crass or vulgar to many people, but if that was a fireable offense, our mayor would be fired."
Catanzara has often clashed publicly with Mayor Lori Lightfoot. He faced harsh criticism earlier this year for initially downplaying the violence during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S Capitol and more recently comparing the city’s employee vaccine mandate to Nazi Germany.
Catanzara apologized after making those statements, saying he expressed sympathy for those who stormed the Capitol before he knew the extent of the damage. He also apologized for the Nazi reference and said that he was not trying to compare "forced vaccinations to the atrocities of the Holocaust."
Catanzara has been in the spotlight recently for battling the city's COVID-19 requirements. But the termination hearing is not about the virus. It is about whether he violated department policies.
Catanzara is accused of making false reports, being insubordinate to supervisors and making inflammatory comments on social media.
In one post, he called Muslims savages. In another, he called a superior officer spineless.
In all, Catanzara is accused of violating 11 police department rules.
The termination hearing was expected to continue through Wednesday. But the Chicago Sun-Times reported that if Catanzara retires, Lauren Freeman, the hearing officer overseeing the case, said the case will be closed.
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Associated Press contributed to this report.