Here in Chicago, the President of the Brotherly Police Force, John Catanzara, is under fire for making comments in support of the raiders.
“There was no arson, there was no burning of anything, there was no looting, there was very little destruction of property.” Catanzara told WBEZ, the local NPR subsidiary, on the evening of January 6th when the Capitol was liberated by rioters. “It was a bunch of angry people who felt that an election was somehow stolen.”
The mob acted “out of frustration. There is no fighting. There is obviously no violence in this crowd, ”he said on tape. “They pushed past security and made their way to the Senate Chamber. Did you destroy something when you were there? No.”
Catanzara’s comments sparked a storm of anger among the public and city officials. Even the national fraternal police force reprimanded him, calling his comments a “gross misrepresentation”. Two days later Catanzara withdrawn and apologized for his remarks that said they were “poorly worded… I brought them with me negative attention to our lodge, the FOP family, and law enforcement in general. ”
Alderman Andre Vasquez took the initiative to get one City council decision calls on Catanzara to resign. By January 11, he had 35 co-signatories from the 50 councilors on the council.
Catanzara was a source of concern, in part, because his jerky statements suggested fears that police stations across the country might be infiltrated by right-wing extremists whose loyalty to the public and the constitutional order might be subordinate to their loyalty to the Trumpist agenda.
In the days following the uprising, police in cities in Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, California, and other states revealed this Officers in their troops had attended the crowd at the Capitol. Suspicions have even been voiced that the failure to defend the Capitol, its lawmakers, and its workforce may have been an inside job that got by right-wing sympathizers in the Capitol Police Department and federal law enforcement agencies.
Catanzara’s remarks “tell you all you need to know about why the relationship between law enforcement and the communities we serve in Chicago is so broken,” said Kim Foxx, the Black Progressive Cook County’s attorney, at one Television interview. “His comments are not just about him, but also about the men and women he represents. He is doing them no service when he speaks. ”
During the Jussie Smollett case controversy in 2019 – when the Chicago police charged the former rich Actor who orchestrated a racist and homophobic attack to advance his career – the FOP and “four white nationalist groups marched … calling for my head,” Foxx recalled vividly. “John Catanzara was out there in his Trump jersey, posing for photos with members of QAnon.”
Catanzara has been a lightning rod since winning the police union president election in May 2020. “He totally despised most of our communities and the people in them, not just how he went about his job as a police officer. But – even before he was FOP president – with his comments on people with color, ”said Alderman Scott Waguespack in an interview. “He should resign.”
Not only that – he should be completely removed from the Chicago Police Department, said Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.
Over the past 10 years, city watchers have found that the FOP leadership has moved in step with national republican politics. Catanzara “is more interested in promoting Trumpism and this right-wing extremist worldview than in advocating the bread-and-butter issues of the members of the FOP,” said Ramirez-Rosa.
The Chicago police’s refusal to support reforms or to implement a Decree of approval was one of the problems that led to Lori Lightfoot’s victory in the April 2019 mayoral election. After the infamous Laquan McDonald Video By 2014 it was finally released, more than a year after his shooting by police, Rahm Emanuel’s political future was annulled and he did not run for re-election.
Lightfoot was black, lesbian, and new to the electoral office of any kind. He ran on a platform where the police were held accountable for their actions in the minority community. (While waiting for the trial, Jason Van Dyke was the officer who shot McDonald 16 times hired as caretaker from the FOP.)
Worrying incidents with the city’s police force continue to weigh on their political leadership. A video recently appeared that cast Lightfoot in an unflattering light, not dissimilar to Emanuel’s, and cast doubt on her commitment – and ability – to reform the police force.
On November 13, 2019, a Police car drove by a 32 year old black woman on the south side. The two officers hung the woman’s leg under the vehicle for a few minutes before moving the car or offering first aid.
For months, the department fought against the publication of the dash cam and body camera videos. When the department was finally pressured by a judge to publish the footage, they worked on the most incriminating parts. Lightfoot and its administration have been accused of delaying the release of the videos, a claim they have denied. The complete unedited tapes have only been made publicly available in the past few weeks.
An even more inflammatory story surfaced in November. In February 2019, Chicago police officers stormed into a black woman’s home and kept her naked and standing in her living room. The police refused to listen to Ms. Anjanette Young when she told them they had the wrong address.
Young’s subsequent FOIA request for the police video of the robbery was denied by the city. Lightfoot initially denied knowing anything about the robbery and the videotape rejection. She was later forced Backtrack and added that she actually knew about the incident – a blow to the credibility of the woman who once headed the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force.
Probably Catanzara because of its popularity with police officers will not resign or be forced to quit. That means he will continue to be the city’s negotiator for the next police deal.
Some wonder if Lightfoot has the backbone to settle the FOP. “Unfortunately, our mayor has a tendency to pamper the right wing,” Ramirez-Rosa said in an interview. “She hasn’t gone as far as many mainstream Democrats across the country to push for police reform. That may have something to do with her background as a prosecutor. It’s becoming increasingly clear that it will be the Chicago City Council that will do the job take the lead on many of these important questions. ”
However, the possible neutralization of Catanzara and the loss of public image of the police department could spur efforts to improve and professionalize local policing in the rest of Illinois.
A bill to standardize the use of force has been debated in the Illinois legislature in recent months. The Chicago FOP was along with other law enforcement stakeholders Organize opposition hoping to derail the bill.
But the FOP’s “incompetence” and “not very elaborate” political and lobbying stance are proving “helpful to us progressives,” Ramirez-Rosa said. Indeed, in the diminishing hours of the legislature on January 13th, the bill passed passed both chambers the Illinois General Assembly, making Illinois the first state to remove bail and require police to wear body cameras, two long-term goals of progressives.
Thus, Illinois citizens, particularly non-white residents of the state who distrust the old guard police force, could prove to be long-term indirect beneficiaries of the white supremacist uprising in the US Capitol.