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Chicago police union president: Calling the Capitol riot 'treason' is 'beyond ridiculous'

The president of Chicago’s police union came to the defense of the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday, arguing that referring to the the demonstrators as “treasonous” is “beyond ridiculous and ignorant.” 

In a phone interview Wednesday evening with Chicago public radio station WBEZ, John Catanzara, who leads the city’s Fraternal Order of Police, claimed that the riots, which led to four deaths and many more injuries, was the result of “a bunch of pissed-off people that feel an election was stolen, somehow, some way.”

“There was no arson, there was no burning of anything, there was no looting, there was very little destruction of property,” Catanzara told the local news outlet. 

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Catanzara said that he stands by Trump’s disputed claims of a “stolen” election, which initially served as the basis for Wednesday’s protests. 

“I don’t have any doubt that something shady happened in this election,” Catanzara said. “You’re not going to convince me that that many people voted for Joe Biden. Never for the rest of my life will you ever convince me of that. But, again, it still comes down to proof.

“Evidence matters,” the police union president continued. “Until that appears, shame on them for what they did, but it was out of frustration.”

He went on to claim that there were, “no fights. There’s no, obviously, violence in this crowd. They pushed past security and made their way to the Senate chamber. Did they destroy anything when they were there? No.”

Video footage and photos from Wednesday showed rioters smashing windows and glass in doors, and ransacking offices throughout the Capitol. 

Officers also appeared to have taken part in an armed stand-off with Trump supporters at the door of the House chamber. 

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While Catanzara said he “wouldn’t have partaken in” the mob on the Capitol himself, the Trump supporters were “individuals” who “get to do what they want.” 

“If the worst crime here is trespassing, so be it,” he told WBEZ. “But to call these people treasonous is beyond ridiculous and ignorant.”

This comes as others have also made remarks casting doubt on the pro-Trump rioters’ actions Wednesday, including Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, who said in video remarks posted on Twitter on Thursday that she believes that some of the rioters were “agitators that were brought in.” 

“Whether they were antifa or BLM or just outright anarchists, I don’t know, but unfortunately, there were some foolish Trump supporters and MAGA supporters who followed right along like little sheep,” she continued, adding that “the people that perpetrated that violence and broke our laws have got to be prosecuted fully to the full extent of the law.” 

Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE, who prior to the mob attacks on the Capitol urged members of Congress to stand up against Trump’s election challenges, issued a rebuke of Ward’s claims, tweeting, “Please, Arizona Republicans. We are better than this. “

“Launching new conspiracy theories about yesterday's attack on the Capitol?” Flake added. “Please, let's be better than this.”

While both chambers of Congress eventually voted to certify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE’s win, several Republican lawmakers stood by Trump and voted to support challenges to the certification of votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania.