The president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police just sent a brutal message to officers kneeling with protesters, saying that they will face consequences that may include being kicked out of the union.
“I’ve made it very clear to the members of Lodge 7 that that has no place for our members,” FOP President John Catanzara said of police kneeling while in uniform during George Floyd protests. “That is contradicting to our constitution as a lodge and it definitely deflates anything remotely associated with fraternalism and as such, any member of Lodge 7 who is going to take a knee and basically side with protesters while they’re in uniform will subject themselves to discipline in the lodge up to and including expulsion from Lodge 7.”
He went on to add that officers are free to protest and kneel with rioters on their own time and if they are not in uniform. When asked about Catanzara’s remarks, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said, “There will be a reckoning” for the Fraternal Order of Police. “And I think that moment is now and that’s what I’ll say about that,” she added.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown spoke out as well to say that they have bigger issues to deal with at the moment. “It’s just hard to take those kinds of comments serious as we deal with COVID environment, historically high violent crime and now misconduct as relation to civil unrest,” Brown said. “How does that bubble up to the most important thing to comment? It’s not. I’ll answer my own question. It’s not as important as what we’re dealing with and I won’t dignify it with an answer.”
Catanzara, who has been a police officer for 25 years, came under fire recently when it was revealed that in 2017, he posted a photo online of himself in uniform, in front of a Chicago Police Department (CPD) SUV, holding an American flag as well as a sign that read: “I stand for the anthem. I love the American flag. I support my president and the 2nd Amendment.”
“My post was patriotic support of all things American,” Catanzara responded when asked about this post this week. “If people cannot see the difference between kneeling in support of voices saying the police are the problem in society and should be defunded or even abolished, then there really is no reason to continue any dialog. It’s an apple and automobile comparison.” Catanzara ended up being suspended for posting the photo because the CPD prohibits officers from participating “in any partisan political campaign or activity.”