CHICAGO - John Catanzara, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, announced he will retire from the Chicago Police force effective 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Catanzara made the announcement after spending hours on the witness stand Monday in the first day of his own three-day scheduled disciplinary hearing, which he called, "a farce."
Catanzara, who's been a Chicago Police officer since 1995, faced a disciplinary hearing in connection to contentious postings he made on his personal Facebook social media account before he became police union president. Catanzara is also accused of making false or fraudulent statements against former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson in connection with the 2018 protest march that blocked the Dan Ryan Expressway. Catanzara charged Johnson with breaking the law by marching alongside protestors on the roadway, and Commander Ronald Pentecore for obstructing justice by withdrawing his complaint.
Superintendent David Brown filed the charges against Catanzara with the recommendation of termination back in January saying his actions discredited the department and was an impediment to its mission. If the process would have been seen through to the end, the disciplinary review would not have released their final recommendation for Catanzara until February.
Following his testimony, Catanzara said he went through the first day because he wanted to put his claims about his former commander, Ronald Pontecore, on the record.
Catanzara and his attorney admitted that, while his comments may have been "crass or vulgar," his comments and the issue was one of free speech. He added, "if that was a fireable offense, our mayor would be fired.”
Chicago Police officers elected Catanzara to lead their union even while he was under investigation, and Catanzara has been leading the union after being relieved of his police powers by Internal Affairs due to the above investigation.
By retiring instead of being fired, he will still be eligible to lead Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7.
Also after announcing his retirement from the police force, he reiterated his plan to run for Chicago Mayor in 2023.