The union that represents front line Chicago police officers is denying that its president sent a threatening email to the local Black Lives Matter organization early today.
“TIME IS UP THUGLIVESMATTER! WERE COMING FOR YOU HOMEBOYS,” reads the purported email that BLMChicago posted to its Twitter page Wednesday morning.
The group included a screenshot of the alleged email that shows FOP Lodge #7 President John Catanzara as the sender. The time stamp on the message is 2:08 a.m. today. Less than an hour after BLMChicago sent its tweet, the police union replied on its Facebook account.
“The defamatory post by BLMChicago is disgraceful. It is 100% fabricated and never came from the President. They should IMMEDIATELY retract their post!”
On Twitter, the FOP said, “it’s fake. President Catanzara never sent an email to their organization and they know it. It’s unbelievable that they have to resort to fake, doctored images to push their anti-Police agenda. It’s both sad and petty.”
WBEZ reporter Chip Mitchell said on Twitter he contacted the police union about BLMChicago’s allegations and the FOP put him in touch with a “longtime union activist” who denied Catanzara sent the message. The activist reportedly told Mitchell that Catanzara was with the family of Officer Ella French, who was fatally shot in the line of duty over the weekend.
“With them at 2 a.m.?” Mitchell said he asked.
At that point, Catanzara jumped on the phone call and declined to comment, according to Mitchell’s tweet.
BLMChicago later provided the full email trail online and multiple Twitter users have said the transmission details show the email originated at emkei, a website that lets anyone create an email with fake headers.
Thanks, this has originated from a website which points to a fake email header generating website. Twitter blocks direct linking pic.twitter.com/fHNDhKUc3x— christo (@christo92787346) August 11, 2021
Another Twitter user elaborated:
Yeah, @BLMChi , this didn’t come from the FOP’s email server. Super easy to do, unfortunately.— Matthew Verive (@MatthewVerive) August 11, 2021
This email should have gone into spam, though, as they’ve got SPF records set that (obviously) don’t include the spoofing site as a permitted sender. pic.twitter.com/jfelqdWvdL
Upon learning that the email appears to be fraudulent, BLMChicago said they would refer the information to their attorneys. But the group did not delete its original tweet, which has been retweeted over 2,000 times and “liked” over 4,500 times as of 1:15 p.m.
Later Wednesday afternoon, Catanzara emailed a letter to BLMChicago and the national Black Lives Matter press office in which he demanded a retraction of the Chicago group’s claim.
“Clearly, it is false, misleading and extremely troubling that your organization would re-post such an inflammatory email without verifying its authenticity,” Catanzara wrote. He called the message “an attempt to stoke the flames of the most recent, tragic events.”