John Catanzara

‘Lapse in Judgement': FOP President Apologizes After Remarks on Capitol Riot

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Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara has issued an apology after making comments that seemed to dismiss critics of the mob that stormed the United States Capitol.

In a letter to members of the union, Catanzara wrote that he "showed a lapse in judgement" during an interview and "for that I am sorry."

"I brought negative attention to our Lodge, the FOP family and law enforcement in general," Catanzara wrote. "I was in no way condoning the violence in DC [Wednesday]. My statements were poorly worded. I certainly would never justify any attacks on law enforcement. After seeing more video and the full aftermath, my comments would have been different."

In the interview with WBEZ reporter Chip Mitchell, Catanzara dismissed critiques of the violent mob as “ridiculous and ignorant,” saying that they were seemingly only guilty of property damage.

“There was no arson. There was no burning of anything. There was no looting. There was very little destruction of property,” he said. “It was a bunch of pissed-off people that feel an election was stolen somehow, some way.”

Catanzara went on to compare the storming of the Capitol to the unrest that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, saying that it was “very different than what happened all across this country all summer long in Democratic-run cities.”

“If the worst crime (at the Capitol) is trespassing, so be it. But to call these people treasonous is beyond ridiculous and ignorant," he said.

At least four people died during the assault, including a woman who was shot and killed and three other individuals who died after suffering medical emergencies.

As the mob, some armed, breached the Capitol, lawmakers who were in session to certify the votes of the electoral college were forced to take cover, ending the session for several hours.

Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle called the incident an “insurrection,” while Democratic lawmakers called for President Donald Trump to step down or to be removed from office for “inciting” the rioters.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted the union leader, calling his stance a “clear delusion.”

“This wasn’t ‘frustration.’ It was a violent insurrection,” Lightfoot tweeted. “The comments by John Catanzara either demonstrate clear delusion or reckless disrespect for the rule of law – or both.”

But Catanzara said some of his comments were "overlooked."

"I ask that you consider the totality of my comments [Thursday]," he said. "What is almost totally overlooked was the fact I said the President needs to accept responsibility for yesterday's events and that he should formally concede the race to put everything to bed once and for all."

He noted that he is "never too big to admit when I am wrong."

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