'Don't ruin my office, I'm coming for the keys' says Chicago police union prez to Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police union president John Catanzara officially retired from the Chicago Police Department on Tuesday, saying his next goal is to run for Chicago mayor.

"Don't ruin my office. I'm coming for the keys," he said when asked if he has a message for the current mayor, Lori Lightfoot.

Catanzara has clashed publicly with Lightfoot over the city's COVID-19 requirements for city employees. He faced harsh criticism earlier this year for initially downplaying the violence during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S Capitol and has compared the city’s employee vaccine mandate to Nazi Germany.

"What other union official has stood up for the members that work for the city other than us? Everyone is afraid to stand up to the powers that be," he said, when asked how he would build a base of support broad enough to win a citywide election.

Catanzara announced that he plans to retire on Monday afternoon, after the first day of his Chicago Police Department termination hearing. The Chicago Police Board had been deciding whether he should be fired from his job as an officer because of repeated department rule violations. He was 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.

When asked why Chicagoans should vote for him for mayor, Catanzara said: "I'm smart enough and don't have a big enough ego – unlike the person who is in charge now – to know the things I don't know."


Lightfoot denounced Catanzara's actions as head of Chicago FOP Lodge #7 in a statement: 

"Not a surprise, that a man of hate—as John Catanzara has demonstrated over and over that he is—would run away from accountability. The evidence of his guilt was overwhelming as set forth in the hearing and he clearly sought to avoid the eventual reckoning by resigning, under investigation, and then divesting the Police Board of jurisdiction. 

Our police department must be populated by officers who work hard every day to embrace their oath to serve and protect, work to form meaningful relationships with community members, and embrace constitutional policing as the only path forward. And the Department needs leadership at all levels who live these values every day. 

We cannot move beyond the very difficult circumstances that we have all endured these last 20 months unless we reject hate in all its forms, and stand united around our common values as a city that is always stronger when we work together as neighbors. "