Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A Chicago police officer was disciplined Wednesday after he posted a photo of himself on social media posing with an American flag, a police SUV and a sign that appeared to reference recent protests by NFL players during pre-game renditions of the national anthem.
The officer, identified by WMAQ as Officer John Catanzara, posted the photo Tuesday on his personal Facebook page. It was later shared on “Chicago Code BLUE,” a Facebook page that advocates for law enforcement officers.
In the photo, a uniformed Catanzara stands behind a sign that says in capital letters, “I stand for the anthem,” “I love the American flag” and “I support my president and the 2nd amendment.”
Hey it's only a reprimand right? God Bless this CPD officer for having the courage to also stand up for what he believes...
The Chicago Police Department said Catanzara violated department rules when he posted the image, since it appears as though he’s taking a stance on “a partisan political campaign or activity while on duty,” the Chicago Tribune reported. Two other officers were recently reprimanded for violating the same rules by kneeling for a photo with an activist on the other side of the NFL national anthem debate.
“The rules prohibiting officers from making political statements while in uniform will be applied consistently,” Guglielmi told the Tribune.
In a Facebook post, Cantanzara denied that the photo was political.
“What is political about my pic? It’s patriotic,” Cantanzara wrote to a critic, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “There is a difference but clearly not everyone understands that.”
The newspaper noted that Catanzara, who has received more than 20 department honors or awards during his time with CPD, was recommended for firing in 2012. Investigators determined that he had worked as security for a bar while on medical leave from the police department.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a (expletive) off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’” Trump told a crowd gathered in Alabama, to resounding applause.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during the anthem last year, to protest police violence against minorities. The protest got mixed reactions, but other NFL players -- and players in other sports -- have since followed Kaepernick’s lead.