CHICAGO (WLS) -- John Catanzara Jr. walking out of police headquarters Tuesday with retirement papers in his hand and a 27 year career in his rear view mirror.
"It's official," Catanzara told reporters.
The never shy, and many times controversial President of the Fraternal Order of Police said he had no regrets and no second thoughts on his decision.
"I knew in April of last year I was never going to be a uniformed officer again, one way or the other. I was either going to do this job or I was retiring anyway," said Catanzara.
He also made it clear he is not joking about running for mayor to challenge Lori Lightfoot in 2023.
"They said I was joking when I said I was gonna be FOP President too and here I am. I don't know what else to say," said Catanzara.
Catanzara showing off his official retirement papers in a photo of them he posted on social media, you can see what he wrote in the remarks column.
"Finally!!!! Let's Go Brandon "quoting a popular meme that began as an anti-Biden slogan, but now has a broader anti-establishment meaning," he wrote.
"Everybody's afraid to stand up to the powers that be. It's never bothered me. I'm not afraid to take a hard stance," said Catanzara.
Mayor Lightfoot issued a statement about Catanzara's retirement on what would have been day two of his police board disciplinary hearing.
Not a surprise, that a man of hate-as John Catanzara has demonstrated over and over that he is-would run away from accountability. The evidence of his guilt was overwhelming as set forth in the hearing and he clearly sought to avoid the eventual reckoning by resigning, under investigation, and then divesting the Police Board of jurisdiction.
Our police department must be populated by officers who work hard every day to embrace their oath to serve and protect, work to form meaningful relationships with community members, and embrace constitutional policing as the only path forward. And the Department needs leadership at all levels who live these values every day.
We cannot move beyond the very difficult circumstances that we have all endured these last 20 months unless we reject hate in all its forms, and stand united around our common values as a city that is always stronger when we work together as neighbors.
Catanzara called the hearing a charade but the staunch supporter of President Trump said s his mayoral ambitions are sincere.
Running for mayor will require more than just words from Catanzara. He will need to put together an organization, build support beyond his base and raise a lot of money. But he already has one other key ingredient that candidates need: a high profile.
"This gives him an even larger platform and a much bigger megaphone in the city than he would otherwise," said Laura Washington, ABC 7 Chicago Political Analyst. "He could be seen as the chief spokesperson for anyone who was anti-Lightfoot and that gives him many issues to sound off on."
Catanzara had a parting message for Lightfoot.
"Don't ruin my office. I'm coming for the keys," he said.
Because he retired, instead of being fired by the Chicago police board, he will remain FOP president.
Catanzara joined the department in 1995 and last year, he became the first president of the FOP to be elected while stripped of his police powers.
He faced charges of violating 11 CPD rules in connection to 18 allegations involving controversial posts on social media.
The posts were made on Catanzara's personal Facebook page before he became police union president.