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Forced vaccination battle rages on between Chicago mayor and police union

Randy Mancini 21 October 20, 2021
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces the firing Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 of Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces the firing Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 of Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is locked in a standoff with the union that represents the city’s police department over vaccinations. Lightfoot accused the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) of being insurrectionists during a press conference Monday in response to the union’s refusal to enforce vaccine mandates.

FOP Chapter President, John Catanzara posted a viral video last week claiming Chicago would lose half of its police force if the mandates took effect. In the video, he outlined his position regarding vaccines while noting he’s against the city demanding to know officers’ vaccination status.

“HOLD YOUR GROUND”: Chicago police union chief urges officers to DEFY vaccine mandate

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara has not only urged Chicago cops to defy the vaccine mandate, but promised to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot to court if she enforces it. pic.twitter.com/X5AVah2wTX

— Americanka🇺🇸🦅🇵🇱 (@Americanka4) October 14, 2021

Catanzara argues the collective bargaining rights of the union has been at the heart of the disagreement since the beginning, adding the city has refused to negotiate. The mayor has tried to strong arm officers by saying failure to comply with the city’s demands would be met with consequences.

“What we’ve seen from the Fraternal Order of Police and particularly leadership is a lot if misinformation, a lot of half truths and, frankly, flat out lies in order to induce an insurrection,” claimed the Mayor. “And we’re not having that, and so we want to make it very, very clear that the law is on our side, we feel very confident about it.”

A memo from the city states, any officer refusing the vaccine will become the subject of a disciplinary investigation that could result in a penalty up to and including separation from the Chicago Police Department. The memo went on to say any officer that retires while under investigation may lose retirement credentials. An additional memo has outlined new requirements for officers to request time off, but it’s unclear whether this is connected to the vaccination battle.

Lightfoot, like many Democrat officials, have suggested the mandate is for the safety of those the police department serves. However, the City of Chicago saw the deadliest month of September since the early 1990s with over 89 recorded homicides.

Additionally, Catanzara said nearly 50 CPD officers have been stripped of their police powers and sent home without pay for refusing to comply with Lightfoot’s orders. The FOP Chapter president noted, whatever happens as a result of the decreased police force falls at Lightfoot’s doorstep.

A hearing on a temporary restraining order placed on the union’s president, preventing him from advising officers against disclosing their medical records, is set to take place Monday.

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