Chicago’s Fraternal Order President Retires from Department, Eyes Mayoral Challenge Against Lightfoot

John Catanzara - National Police Support Fund

John Catanzara, the President of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, is retiring from the force. And now he wants to run for mayor. 

Catanzara, who has served on the Chicago Police Department for 27 years, had recently come under fire for a series of confrontations he had with the city’s current mayor, Lori Lightfoot. Much of the recent contention centers around the mayor’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate. 

The AP notes that “He compared the city’s employee vaccine mandate to Nazi Germany” and urged his fellow officers not to comply with it. The vaccine mandate was ultimately suspended through litigation, with the judge in the case ruling “disputes over vaccinations should be handled as a labor grievance with an arbitrator,” the news agency reported separately on November 1st

While Catanzara was entitled to a hearing, he ultimately decided to retire preemptively in a last act against Lightfoot.

John Catanzara - National Police Support Fund

“There was never a possibility under God’s green earth that I was ever going to give this mayor the ability to utter the words, ‘I fired him,’” he told reporters

But while Catanzara will be hanging up the uniform, he will remain on as president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, according to reports. 

“Under union bylaws, elected positions in the union, including the one the 53-year-old Catanzara now holds, can be held by retired officers who are collecting their pension,” reported The AP article. 

In fact, Catanzara’s role as union president may ultimately be energized by his retirement from the force. 

“The city has to deal with me.” 

The Chicago Tribune notes that:

“As union president, Catanzara has dedicated more resources toward flexing the FOP’s political muscles than most who have had his seat. In 2020, he boasted about the union giving the maximum donation to Kim Foxx’s opponent in the Cook County state’s attorney’s race, vowing that the FOP would be just as major a player in city elections as the Chicago Teachers Union.”

“Let’s Go Brandon!” 

This defiant phrase mocking President Joe Biden was the call to action for Catanzara’s mayoral ambitions. 

Catanzara will be harnessing the growing resentment amongst Police in Chicago who view Lightfoot’s leadership as a disaster, if not intentional demoralization effort against the force. 

“I’m running against the mayor to change this damn city, because she is literally not only steering into an iceberg, she is literally telling them full steam ahead,” he said. “So something’s got to change.”

A 2023 showdown between Catanzara and Lightfoot is sure to be an exciting one, especially if her support from the force continues to slip further, if that is even possible. In the meantime, Catanzara will continue to be a force for change, or at least resistance, to Lightfoot’s failed leadership. And he is relishing the opportunity to depose her as Chicago’s mayor:

“I will have my vindication when I tell her to get the hell out of my office and give me the keys in 2023.”

And ultimately, John Catanzara as mayor may just be the change the crime-plagued city needs after years of catastrophe on its streets.

Image Credit: WGN News YouTube Channel

As of October 18, 2021, a homicide tracker compiled by The Chicago Sun Times reports that 784 victims have been killed in Chicago over the last 12 months…628 were African Americans. Not only have Lightfoot’s policies and defunding of her city’s police department not created any meaningful reform, but they have also exacerbated the rampant victimization of the very group she pretends to be advocating for.

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