John Catanzara, head of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, issued the warning this week after scenes emerged from across the country of officers in uniform using the gesture to show support for the police reform movement.
“I don’t believe it’s the time or place to be doing that,” Catanzara told Fox32 Chicago.
“If you kneel, you’ll be risking being... thrown out of the lodge,” he added.
The station says Catanzara’s opposition to kneeling is linked to some of the protesters’ demands, which he believes ultimately will end up hurting law enforcement.
“Specifically this weekend. This was about defunding and abolishing the police officers. And you’re going to take a knee for that? It’s ridiculous,” Catanzara told Fox32 Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, when asked about Catanzara’s warning on Wednesday, told reporters that “I don’t really think we should credit those kinds of really unfortunate comments.
“I’m not going to dignify them with any further response,” she added.
The station says anyone kicked out of the Fraternal Order of Police chapter would still be able to work as a police officer – but without the benefits and protections the union has negotiated.