FOIA: Catanzara Misconduct Investigation Continues

CJP’s investigation of the misconduct history of Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara continues as we file new requests under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to unlock records related to his long history of misconduct.

Catanzara has been a Chicago police officer for 23 years and in that time has manged to rack up an astounding 50 misconduct complaints over his time with the CPD. Many of those misconduct complaints were filed by internal sources. This means his fellow officers and supervisors took the extraordinary step of filing a written complaint about his misconduct. Given just how strong the blue wall of silence is it is pretty amazing that a single officer could rack up a substantial number of misconduct complaints from internal sources. We are unable to confirm the exact number of complaints filed by internal sources because the data on the Citizen Police Data Project is very limited.

You can read our initial investigation of John Catanzara’s misconduct and his horrific history of social media posts here. The report details his long history of over 50 complaints in 23 years as well as as social media history that leaves no minority group in America untouched by his hatred.

it is because of this limited information we are filing these FOIA requests. Many of the misconduct complaints were investigated by the Bureau of Internal Affairs and as such out initial FOIA request to the Citizen Office of Police Accountability failed to unlock records related to a number of misconduct complaints filed against Catanzara.

We believe this request will be bear fruit and allow CJP to publish a second report with further details about his history of misconduct.

FOIA Content

To:   Chicago Police Department

Re:  John Catanzara Misconduct Records

In accordance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, I request that your office provide the following public records: 

FOIA A
Please provide in digital format all records related to the complaint registry numbers detailed below and all records related to any subsequent investigation of any allegations found within. This should at a minimum include:

  1. the initial complaint filed 
  2. all statements from victims
  3. all statements from witnesses
  4. all findings 
  5. all records related to any grievance filed by the accused officer with their union including any documents related to any arbitration process
  6. all records related to the final discipline served by the officer
  7. all records collected in support of or against the allegation(s) contained in the complaint registry
  8. all records related to communication with the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department or any member of the Chicago Police Department regarding the Department’s review of any sustained findings and the recommendations for discipline. This should include any communication to or from the Chicago Police Department regarding their agreement or disagreement with the findings or discipline recommendation. 

Complaint Registry Numbers

  1. 1003083
  2. 1013430
  3. 1062978
  4. 1063679
  5. 287661
  6. 287850
  7. 287880
  8. 300954
  9. 307999 

FOIA B
Please provide in digital format all records related to the complaint registry numbers detailed below and all records related to any subsequent investigation of any allegations found within. This should at a minimum include:

  1. the initial complaint filed
  2. all statements from victims
  3. all statements from witnesses
  4. all findings 
  5. all records related to any grievance filed by the accused officer with their union including any documents related to any arbitration process
  6. all records related to the final discipline served by the officer
  7. all records collected in support of or against the allegation(s) contained in the complaint registry
  8. all records related to communication with the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department or any member of the Chicago Police Department regarding the Department’s review of any sustained findings and the recommendations for discipline. This should include any communication to or from the Chicago Police Department regarding their agreement or disagreement with the findings or discipline recommendation. 

Complaint Registry Numbers

  1. 1004628 
  2. 1040916
  3. 1064757
  4. 1065023
  5. 1065834
  6. 1070870
  7. 1083273
  8. 1083274
  9. 1088113
  10. 259365
  11. 265040
  12. 268686
  13. 272029
  14. 273267
  15. 278621
  16. 278789
  17. 279169
  18. 280456
  19. 281714
  20. 289872
  21. 290353
  22. 292005
  23. 292069
  24. 293881
  25. 309635
  26. C226372
  27. C227571
  28. C237311
  29. C237762
  30. C240698
  31. C241532
  32. C256223
  33. C257791
  34. C257956
  35. C259365
  36. C265040
  37. C268686

FOIA C
Please provide in digital format all records related to any complaint registry numbers not detailed in FOIA A or B that have been field against Chicago Police Officer John Catanzara and all records related to any subsequent investigation of any allegations found within. This should at a minimum include:

  1. the initial complaint filed
  2. all statements from victims
  3. all statements from witnesses
  4. all findings 
  5. all records related to any grievance filed by the accused officer with their union including any documents related to any arbitration process
  6. all records related to the final discipline served by the officer
  7. all records collected in support of or against the allegation(s) contained in the complaint registry
  8. all records related to communication with the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department or any member of the Chicago Police Department regarding the Department’s review of any sustained findings and the recommendations for discipline. This should include any communication to or from the Chicago Police Department regarding their agreement or disagreement with the findings or discipline recommendation.

FOIA D

  1. Records sufficient to show Your efforts to locate and produce the records requested in FOIAs ********* above. This should include:
  1. Where you searched for responsive Records and Documents.
  2. Who searched for responsive Records and Documents.
  3. Who was requested to produce responsive Records and Documents.
  4. The identify of any Records and Documents that were located but not produced for any reason.

DEFINITIONS

“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.
“You” or “Your” means the {Public Body}, and all attorneys, employees, officers, directors, bureaus, offices, divisions or subdivisions of same.


INSTRUCTIONS

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. I can be reached at tsiska@chicagojustice.org

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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