CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Board is meeting to decide if the president of the city’s police union should be fired from the force for violating police rules – including controversial posts on social media.

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara is accused of violating 11 CPD rules. The disciplinary charges against him include insubordination, incompetency, disobedience, participating in partisan political activities, and making a false report.

The Police Board has scheduled three days for an evidentiary hearing on those charges this week.

Catanzara is charged with filing a false report against former CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson, accusing Johnson of trespassing by marching with protesters on the Dan Ryan Expressway during a rally against gun violence in July 2018.

He’s also accused of making several inflammatory posts on social media.

Records show the posts include statements suggesting killing people and suggesting officers stop chasing offenders.

In one post Catanzara referred to Muslims, saying, “Savages they all deserve a bullet.”

Catanzara declined to comment on the new disciplinary charges. His first hearing on the disciplinary charges is scheduled for Feb. 23.

He is currently stripped of his police powers.

A decision by the nine-member Chicago Police Board is not expected until early next year.

Catanzara has been suspended multiple times since joining the department in 1995. According to the Invisible Institute, a public website that contains all police misconduct records, Catanzara was disciplined at least eight times for misconduct between 2003 and 2013:

He was once suspended for 30 days following an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse in 2003.
He was reprimanded following an investigation into an allegation of excessive force in 2003.
He was suspended for six days following an investigation into allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer by associating with a felon while off-duty in 2003.
He was suspended for 20 days following an investigation into allegations of conduct unbecoming by associating with a felon while off-duty in 2004.
He was suspended for 10 days for insubordination in 2005.
He was suspended for 15 days following an investigation into an allegation of a personnel violation at an Old Town tavern in 2007.
He was suspended for 20 days after the Chicago Police Board found him guilty of violating department rules by working as a private security guard while on medical leave for a back injury in 2008. Supt. Garry McCarthy had sought to fire him.
He was suspended for 10 days following an investigation into miscellaneous personnel violations in 2013.

According to the Chicago Tribune, then-Police Supt. Jody Weis sought to fire Catanzara in 2008, accusing him of failing to follow orders to complete a psychological exam, but the Chicago Police Board cleared Catanzara of wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, a group of 38 aldermen introduced a resolution urging Catanzara to resign over his comments about the storming of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, or for the FOP board to force him out. In an interview on the day of the Capitol riot, Catanzara falsely claimed there was no violence from those who stormed the building.

Catanzara later apologized for what he called “a lapse in judgment,” after he defended the rioters in an interview with WBEZ public radio.

In that interview, Catanzara said he understood the motives behind the storming of the Capitol, which led to at least five deaths, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died a day after Catanzara falsely claimed “There’s no, obviously, violence in this crowd.”

 

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