Who is John Catanzara? Chicago police union boss dubbed QAnon supporter for downplaying Capitol riots: 'Fire him'
Catanzara said, 'I don’t have any doubt that something shady happened in this election. You’re not going to convince me that many people voted for Joe Biden'
As America experienced an attack on its democracy on January 6, 2021, when Donald Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill, many - including Republicans - called for the invoking of the 25th Amendment which would oust the President. The riot, however, saw many supporters and among them was president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, John Catanzara. In a telephonic interview with WBEZ, the union boss said, "There was no arson, there was no burning of anything, there was no looting, there was very little destruction of property. It was a bunch of pissed-off people that feel an election was stolen, somehow, some way.” Catanzara, who was elected to his position in May, downplayed the situation even though the riot did have fatalities, injuries and caused damage to government buildings.
Turns out Catanzara is among those who believe that President-elect Joe Biden "stole" the election. He said, “I don’t have any doubt that something shady happened in this election. You’re not going to convince me that many people voted for Joe Biden. Never for the rest of my life will you ever convince me of that. But, again, it still comes down to proof.”
Speaking of proof, there have been multiple videos made public that show the rioters damaging property and ruining offices inside the Capitol, but Catanzara believes otherwise. “Evidence matters. Until that appears, shame on them for what they did, but it was out of frustration. There are no fights. There’s no, obviously, violence in this crowd. They pushed past security and made their way to the Senate chamber. Did they destroy anything when they were there? No," he said. Many news channels reported that police trying to protect the Capitol had to deal with firearms and even pipe bombs. There was also an "armed standoff" that occurred at the House chamber's doors.
While Catanzara did say that he wouldn't have "partaken" in the riots on Capitol Hill, he did defend the rioters claiming that calling them "treasonous" is "beyond ridiculous and ignorant". He also said that if their "worst crime" is trespassing, then "so be it". Calling the rioters individuals who "get to do what they want", Catanzara added that they were just voicing their frustration and were "entitled" to do so. "They clearly have been ignored and they’re still being ignored as if they’re lunatics and treasonous now, which is beyond stupid. It’s a whole side of the argument and, primarily, your (news media) profession is at the root of it, basically championing Joe Biden the whole time," he said.
To make matters more sensitive, he also brought up the peaceful protests that occurred over the summer saying that the current riots are "very different than what happened all across this country all summer long in Democratic-ran cities and nobody had a problem with that." He added that in the summer, the protests were about "blaming the police and the police’s response to the violence, looting, and criminal behavior.” According to WGN9, Catanzara also said this of the comparisons between the Black Lives Matter protests and the Capitol Hill riots: "People always want to make it a racial thing. Even the ones going after officers, I didn’t see any of them throwing frozen bottles, bricks or shooting fireworks at police. They were simply pushing past police to get access to the building. Still criminal behavior, no doubt. But that’s not the level of violence we saw across many parts of the country this summer. It was totally different.”
Although, this isn't the first time that the Chicago Police Union President has openly supported Trump and his supporters. According to WBEZ, Catanzara was "disciplined" by the state's police department for posing with a sign that stated he supported Trump while in uniform in 2017. Back in December 18, 2020, according to WTTW and other publications, Catanzara faced termination from his position in the state police department due to his derogatory social media posts. One of them said that Muslims "all deserve a bullet". While, Sydney Roberts, a Civilian Office of Police Accountability Chief Administrator said that the head of the state's police union should be fired over his posts, Police Superintendent David Brown "recommended" a one-year suspension.
It was also public news that the police union president has argued with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the past, and recently Lightfoot tweeted on Catanzara saying that the riot "wasn't frustration" but rather "violent insurrection". "The comments by John Catanzara, Chicago FOP President, either demonstrate clear delusion or reckless disrespect for the rule of law — or both," she tweeted. Either way, Catanzara seems to be convinced that the riots were no big deal as WBEZ quoted him saying, "It’s an inconvenience at this point, is all it is. This is not some mass insurrection, coup attempt. They’re not destroying or burning down the fricking Capitol building. This hyperbole and this emotion that the media is spewing now, like this is some kind of end-of-times scenario, is ridiculous."
This wasn't "frustration." It was a violent insurrection. The comments by John Catanzara, Chicago FOP President, either demonstrate clear delusion or reckless disrespect for the rule of law—or both. https://t.co/jnLcRTVuME— Lori Lightfoot (@LoriLightfoot) January 7, 2021
His recent comments are already making a huge buzz and Twitter users labeled Catanzara a QAnon supporter and fascist. "This isn't hard to explain. John Catanzara is a known QAnon supporter. He has zero credibility. Carry on," wrote one user. Another added, "If John Catanzara is a Q Anon supporter, he should not be employed by the Chicago Police Union or Department. QAnon is utter nonsense & not worthy of elected officials or public/law enforcement giving it any credence."
This isn't hard to explain. John Catanzara is a known QAnon supporter. He has zero credibility. Carry on. https://t.co/KYJn2Xjg2T— David DiSalvo (@Neuronarrative) January 7, 2021
If John Catanzara is a Q Anon supporter, he should not be employed by the Chicago Police Union or Department. QAnon is utter nonsense & not worthy of elected officials or public/law enforcement giving it any credence. https://t.co/85ZMvv5aTx— Marc Keepper (@marckeepper) January 7, 2021
Another added, "John Catanzara is the same guy who once said that all Muslims deserve a bullet, and many people didn't said anything about it, they just didn't care "not my problem" But now it is your problem That's what fascists always do, once they finish with one group they will come after u." Another said, "John Catanzara is a fascist who supports terrorist attacks. He should be fired and blacklisted from all form of law enforcement and political office."
John Catanzara is the same guy who once said that all Muslims deserve a bullet, and many people didn't said anything about it, they just didn't care "not my problem"— darkb (@darkb_b) January 8, 2021
But now it is your problem
That's what fascists always do, once they finish with one group they will come after u
John Catanzara is a fascist who supports terrorist attacks. He should be fired and blacklisted from all form of law enforcement and political office. https://t.co/suZwRWqA7F— TheCulturalEqualityRaiseroftheDead (@CulturalDead) January 7, 2021