A formidable candidate is trying to oust John Catanzara as head of the union for Chicago’s 10,000 rank-and-file cops.

But officers of color, women and political moderates in the CPD can get Det. Same as Robert Bartlett incumbent. Both are white men in a long-standing union run by white men.

Both have spoken highly of Donald Trump and both have opposed efforts to toughen police oversight.

Bartlett, a former Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 field representative, is running for union presidency atop a slate seeking to oust Catanzara’s team in a membership vote beginning next month. His supporters are lambasting Catanzara, 54, for his combative and undisciplined style and his perceived hypocrisy in his fight with Mayor Lori Lightfoot over COVID vaccinations.

“John gives bad advice to our members and then he doesn’t stand behind them,” said Bartlett running mate Patrick Murray, who helped assemble the opposition slate. “They also lack the ability to connect with people who can help our members.”

Those people include the superintendent of police, Murray said. David Brown and First Deputy Superintendent. Eric Carter, who is often the subject of Catanzara’s public barbs and insults, as well as Bureau of Internal Affairs staff and pro-police elected officials such as Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th Ward).

Bartlett, 48, did not respond to messages seeking comment about his campaign, but is well known among Lodge 7 members.

Hired by the CPD in 1998, he worked for two years in the Rogers Park patrol district before landing a coveted position in the SWAT unit, according to department records.

In 2017, he lost an election to become the union’s third vice president but Kevin Graham, who won the presidency, appointed him to the field-representative position, a full-time job that lasted three years and put him in constant contact with the police. across town.

Later that year, Bartlett and Murray joined with another FOP leader, Martin Prieb, outside the Chicago Public Schools headquarters to speak to middle- and high-school students about the torture of suspects and witnesses by Chicago detectives under Cmdr. Sheets can be given against a syllabus. John Berg.

Bartlett also helped lead the lodge’s legal defense committee as it paid for the attorneys for Jason Van Dyke, the officer jailed for killing teenager Laquan McDonald.

In 2019, Bartlett wrote a FOP newsletter article attacking Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, stating that she “does not enforce many laws and has created an environment where police cannot do their jobs”. Might.” If she remained in office, she said, Chicago would be “overrun by homeless drug addicts – many people with mental illness – who urinate and defecate anywhere.”

In the union’s 2020 election, Bartlett and Murray endorsed Preb for president of Lodge 7—aside from Graham, who portrayed their opposition as a push for more confrontational union leadership. preb came within 30 votes of derailment Graham’s re-election bid in the first round of voting.

Graham went into the second round limping, where he was knocked out by Catanzara.

After losing his union position, Bartlett returned to work as a cop and quickly became a detective. According to the CPD, he was assigned to Area Four, a West Side station.


The same month Catanzara took over the union, Minneapolis police killed George Floyd and protests and looting broke out in Chicago.

Catanzara, leading the 28-member FOP board no african americans included, threatening to expel a black cop from the union for kneeling with protesters. His threat sparked a rare protest by African American police retirees in front of the union’s headquarters.

Hatred exploded for Catanzara in 2021, when he initially supported the 6 January rioters In the US Capitol, leading to a reprimand from the FOP’s national office and an apology by the wayward lodge president.

WBEZ reported Catanzara’s comments about the riot. Since then, he has refused to speak to the station’s reporters, although he has never disputed the accuracy of the reporting.

Later in 2021, Catanzara’s bombastic nature led to a police board hearing on whether to fire him from the CPD. Alleged misconduct in last 18 incidents Most Facebook postings that use vulgar or allegedly racist language. The hearing was scheduled for three days, but ended abruptly after the first day, when Catanzara retired from the CPD, a move that did not require his departure from the Lodge 7 presidency.

Catanzara drew more negative attention to the union when he compared Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccination mandate for city employees to Nazi genocidal methods.

Catanzara apologized and said that she had chosen to get herself vaccinated. But he still encouraged members to disobey orders to report their vaccination status, leading some to be stripped of their police powers.

Murray said, “These guys can be eliminated and they say it’s up to them now.” “He failed the people with his leadership.”

Catanzara scored at least one major victory for the Lodge 7 members—a victory that eluded Graham, who had spent his entire tenure trying to negotiate a new contract with the city. Catanzara’s team won contract provisions that led to large retroactive paychecks for the city’s police.

Now, however, some members are complaining that the 2.5% annual increase in that agreement is trailing inflation.

big plans

Catanzara, who did not respond to requests for comment about his re-election campaign, has attempted to connect with members by posting weekly videos on YouTube. They recorded this past Memorial Day in front of Lodge 7’s food trailer after being escorted to various work sites by union officials.

“The brotherhood is inspiring,” Catanzara said. “The smiles, the camaraderie, the stories between the officers and the members of the lodge are certainly telling me that we’re on the right track in what we’re trying to do here – trying to rebuild morale.” which is constantly shattered by the mayor [and] A reference to the CPD headquarters, the sh** show of incompetence at 35th and Michigan.

In the fall, Catanzara vetoed an amendment to the federal constitution that extended the president’s three-year term to four years, allowing the winner of this winter’s election to serve at least until 2027, the winner of this year’s mayoral election. installed as.

In a Lodge 7 newsletter article, Catanzara promised great things if members kept it going.

“If we are lucky enough to be re-elected,” he wrote, “I will guarantee we have a new [union hall] until the end of that next term. And we may be able to get our new health care facility and plan that will significantly reduce costs for members during that time as well.

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