FOIA: COPA FOP President Related Records

PresidentThis FOIA request is being submitted to get more information about the circumstances that led to Chicago Police Officer and President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) John Catanzara being striped of his police powers while an internal investigation is conducted by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Catanzara was just recently elected President of the FOP through a vote of the membership despite the fact that he is currently under an investigation that has a high likelihood of resulting in sustained findings that will put his job as a police officer is jeopardy. Also, he has a history of over 40 complaints being filed against him. So, the FOP membership voted in a President that is currently striped of this his police powers, has a high likelihood of an investigation putting his career as police officer in jeopardy, and has a history of nearly 4 dozen complaints, most of which were filed by supervisors and other officers.

This FOIA is specially seeking to open records related to the current investigation for which he is striped. It is related to a complaint he filed against former Superintendent Eddie Johnson for allowing and participating in a protest of the Laquan McDonald murder to occur on the Dan Ryan expressway. Somehow Catanzara was allowed to run for the position for President even through he has no police powers.

FOIA Content

To:  Civilian Office of Police Accountability Re: Complaints against Officer John Catanzara
In accordance with Definitions and Instructions below and the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, I request that your office provide the following public records: 


Please provide all documents related to complaints filed by Officer John Catanzara from 2017-2020 and any subsequent investigations resulting from those complaints.


Please provide all documents related to complaints field against Officer John Catanzara from 2017-2020 and any subsequent investigations resulting from those complaints.

“Document” and/or “Documents” means any documents or electronically stored information of any kind—including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form.


If the agency withholds any document or information pertinent to the requests made herein, please identify the document or information in as much detail as is possible, and detail in specific language why each document or piece of information is being withheld.

If any information requested herein is withheld on the basis of a claim of privilege or other protection as material prepared in anticipation of litigation or trial, then that claim shall be made expressly in a writing that describes the nature of the Documents, Communications, or Things not produced or disclosed in a manner that will enable us to assess the applicability of the privilege or protection. With regard to each claim of privilege or protection, the following information should be provided in the response or the objection:

(a) the type of Document, e.g., letter or memorandum;

(b) general subject matter of the Document;

(c) the date of the Document;

(d) such other information as is sufficient to identify the Document for a subpoena duces tecum, including, where appropriate, the author, addressee, and any other recipient of the Document, and, where not apparent, the relationship of the author, addressee, and any other recipient to each other; and

(e) the nature of the privilege or protection;

(f) if applicable, the litigation or trial of which he document was created in anticipation.

If any Document identified herein has been lost, discarded, or destroyed, each such Document should be identified as completely as possible, including as to each such Document, its date, general nature (e.g., letter, memorandum, telegram, telex, photograph, computer printout), subject matter, each author or originator, each person indicated as an addressee or copy recipient, and its former custodian(s). In addition, as to each such Document, the following information shall be supplied:

(a) date of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(b) manner of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(c) reason for disposal or destruction, or any explanation of loss;

(d) persons authorizing the disposal or destruction;

(e) persons having knowledge of the disposal, destruction, or loss; and

(f) persons who destroyed, lost, or disposed or the Document or Thing.
I look forward to hearing from you in writing within five working days, as required by the Act 5 ILCS 140(3).  Please direct all questions or responses to this FOIA request to this email address by responding to this email.  


7/28 – Dear Mr. Siska,

Attached in the link above is your FOIA request for 20-060-240.

Please let me know if you have any questions or issues. If we do not hear from you, COPA will consider this request complete.


Jason Szczepanski

Paralegal II

Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA)

Here are the documents they turned over to CJP:

Final Redaction Final Response Letter

Final Redaction

7/20 – I am issuing a 5-day extension letter for your FOIA request submitted to COPA on July 14, 2020.

COPA_Extension Letter

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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