Chicago Cop with History of Suspensions Faces Reprimand over Photo
An award-winning Chicago cop who has kept his job despite repeated suspensions for domestic abuse, excessive force and multiple departmental violations posted a Facebook photo of himself in uniform this week expressing his love for the National Anthem, the American flag, Donald Trump and the Second Amendment.
But his photo was actually a response to another photo that had been posted on Instagram showing two black Chicago cops kneeling with a black activist with their fists in the air in protest against Trump’s rhetoric against the NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police abuse.
Now John J. Catanzara Jr. and the other two cops, whose names have not been released, will be reprimanded because it is a departmental violation to engage in “partisan political campaign or activity,” according to the department’s code of conduct.
But a reprimand is nothing but a slap on the wrist for cops, which is why the Chicago Code BLUE Facebook page made light of it after reposting Catanzara’s photo to its community of cops and their apologists.
Hey, it’s only a reprimand, right? God bless this CPD officer for having the courage to also stand up for what he believes in.
Besides, what is a reprimand to a cop who gives no fucks as he states on his Facebook page?
Catanzara has since made his Facebook page private but NBC Chicago reports that it included “inflammatory language about Muslims, plus criticism of protesters, state and local government, as well as former President Barack Obama,” which also appear to be departmental violations.
“What is political about my pic? It’s patriotic,” Catanzara wrote along with his photo on his Facebook page.
But whether it was political or patriotic, most commenters on social media interpreted his photo as being openly supportive of police abuse and racism, which is something most cops try to pretend they are against.
But Catanzara’s record speaks for itself, showing a long history of abusive behavior, racking up 28 complaints since joining the department in 1995, according to the Citizens Police Data Project.
Nine of those complaints were sustained, which is an astronomical number for cops investigated by other cops, resulting in suspensions of 30 days, 20 days, 15 days, 10 days, six days and five days as you can see in the screenshots below.
In 2012, the Police Board of the City of Chicago recommended firing him for working as a security guard in a restaurant where he made an arrest during a time when he was on medical leave from the department with a back injury.
But then the board opted to suspend him for 20 days instead, claiming his “disciplinary history contains no prior sustained complaints or discipline.”
However, that was a flagrant lie as he had at least four sustained complaints against him several years before that resulting in a total of 66 suspended days, including a 30 day suspension for domestic violence in 2003.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported on the Facebook photo and mentioned the 2012 recommendation for termination, but added that he has been presented with “22 honors and awards” over the years.
But anybody familiar with policing knows these are generally participation awards that are not much different than the participation awards elementary kids receive for showing up to class.
So don’t be surprised if the police union awards him for his bravery for posting the photo on Facebook.