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Chicago Urban League Issues Statement on Chicago Police Union President

Chicago Urban League President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson released the following statement concerning the actions and comments of John Catanzara, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 in Chicago:

This is a critical time for our country and our city.  We are grappling with the challenges of police reform, racism, poverty, a ravaging pandemic and its resulting economic fallout. We should be uniting to address these challenges. Instead, the articulation of racist ideology and intolerance increasingly is giving license to individuals to demonstrate their support for those beliefs through aggressive actions and statements that further divide us. 

Given this climate, it is imperative that those who have been entrusted to lead in the public arena in various capacities do so with consideration for all. Even when elected to represent a group or point of view, a person must value the rule of law, human dignity, and respect for humankind. This is especially true when a person leads a group of individuals who are expected to protect and serve all of us. 

On January 6, 2021, a group of people, encouraged by a sitting President of the United States, engaged in an insurrection against a sitting U.S. Vice President and members of Congress. It was an affront to our democracy and to all law-abiding citizens. Most of us watched in horror as these events unfolded.

John Catanzara, President of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, minimized these events—despite the clear threat of harm to members of Congress and our Vice President, as well as actual harm to police officers and hardworking everyday people. This was not the first time that his words showed disregard for Chicago residents who feel targeted by racially divisive rhetoric. He has previously taken multiple opportunities to speak in a manner that demonstrates that he is anything but a responsible leader. For these reasons, we call on him to resign. If he fails to do so, we implore justice-minded officers to remove him and the blemish that he represents to their profession. 

About the Chicago Urban League

Since 1916, the Chicago Urban League—through collaborative community, corporate and civic relationships—has helped people find jobs, secure affordable housing, enhance their educational experiences and grow their businesses. We are passionate advocates for economic and racial equity for Black Chicagoans. To learn more about the Chicago Urban League visit www.chiul.org and follow us on Twitter at @ChiUrbanLeague and Facebook at @ChicagoUrbanLeague.