“This was about defunding and abolishing the police officers. And you’re going to take a knee for that? It’s ridiculous.” John Catanzara, President Chicago FOP
The head of Chicago’s powerful police union said any cop in the city who takes a knee during George Floyd protests will be booted, according to a report.
John Catanzara, the new president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, said the gesture, seen throughout the nation during protests over Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis, is tantamount to betrayal of the uniform, he told Fox32 Chicago.
“I don’t believe it’s the time or place to be doing that,” Catanzara told the station. “If you kneel, you’ll be risking being brought up on charges and thrown out of the lodge.”
“Specifically this weekend,” he said. “This was about defunding and abolishing the police officers. And you’re going to take a knee for that? It’s ridiculous.”
Floyd’s May 25 death sparked worldwide calls for racial justice and denouncing police brutality, and has spawned a strong “defund the police” movement over two weeks of clashes between police and protestors.
Last week, one NYPD lieutenant issued an apology to the rank and file over his “horrible decision” to take a knee during the protests.
Asked about Catanzara’s comments, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wouldn’t “dignify” it with a response.
“I don’t really think that we should credit those kinds of really unfortunate comments, and I’m not going to dignify them with any further response,” she said.
Cops in the Second City who are kicked out of the union can still remain on the job, but will not be guaranteed the contractual benefits negotiated between the city and the fraternal order, Fox32 said.
Catanzara, who took heat in 2017 for posting a Facebook photo in uniform with a sign supporting President Donald Trump and gun rights, said cops now kneeling for protestors are doing the same thing — just on the other end of the political spectrum.
“Well that’s a political stance,” he told the station. “I want to see what happens on the department level. I’m going to guess nothing because the mayor supports this kind of stuff.”