Controversial president of Chicago Fraternal Order of Police faces possible firing over Facebook posts

Police department

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The outspoken and sometimes controversial president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police could find himself without a job after a ruling from the Chicago Police Board.

At Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Chicago Police Board, member Andrea Zopp ruled that John Catanzara, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, will face an evidentiary hearing regarding social media posts criticized as profane, incendiary, bigoted, and hostile that could determine his future with the department.

The posts were made between November 2016 and February 2018. He has said at times he was responding to comments by others on Facebook.

So, what did he write? The Chicago Sun Times reports that In one post, Catanzara wrote: “Wtf its [sic] seriously time to kill these motherf———." It was not clear who Catanzara was referring to, though reached Thursday night by the Sun Times, Catanzara said the comment was made in reference to people "who have killed police officers."

In another post, Catanzara "suggested someone perform a sex act on him," and in another he referred to a superior in the CPD as “spineless.”

“There is no level of fairness that would even be attached to any of this,” Catanzara told the Sun Times.

Sydney Roberts, the chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, had recommended that Catanzara be fired for his comments. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown recommended a one-year suspension. That was overruled, leading to a hearing on the matter.

This came the day after this from the union president, also on Facebook.

"Just think about this department, they don't give a damn about you and your health when it comes to COVID and training, they don't give a damn when you die," he said.

Thursday’s decision from Zopp comes as the FOP and City Hall remain at odds over a new contract for rank-and-file officers. The FOP’s last contract expired more than three years ago.

Before he was elected union president, Catanzara was one of the most frequently disciplined members of the department, and is the first president of the FOP to be elected while stripped of his police powers.

A firing or suspension would not directly affect his role with the union.

“This has no relevance or even future ramifications for me continuing and finishing out my term as the president of Lodge 7,” Catanzara told the Tribune.