Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) president John Catanzara is urging officers to defy Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“Do not fill out the portal information,” Catanzara told union members, referring to the portal in which city employees must report their vaccination status by Friday or enter “no-pay” status.
“I’ve made my status very clear as far as the vaccine, but I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody let alone that information about your medical history,” he added.
Catanzara warned that if Chicago enforces the mandate and officers refused to comply, “It’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up.”
A police force at half capacity should do wonders in a city that saw a dozen people shot on Tuesday, including two children.
Catanzara called out Mayor Lori Lightfoot for trying to frighten people into compliance, a tactic blue state and local politicians have perfected during the pandemic.
“It is the city’s clear attempt to force officers with a ‘chicken little, the sky is falling,’ into compliance – do not fall for it,” he said. “Hold the line.”
In response, Lightfoot accused the police union chief of racism.
“John Catanzara says a lot of things, a lot of it offensive, and racist and foolish,” the Mayor replied.
This is the same mayor who banned white reporters from getting interviews with her last spring.
Catanzara informed members that the FOP has filed a class-action grievance drafted to cover “everything under the sun” that police officers might lose if they defy the Chicago vaccine mandate, including pay and benefits.
Lightfoot, however, remains undaunted by the threat of a lawsuit.
“He’s threatening litigation,” she said. “I say, bring it.”
Lightfoot has been at the front of the line when it comes to draconian measures to combat the pandemic. Just not for her.
She once ordered city residents to cancel Thanksgiving plans even as she celebrated Joe Biden’s election victory, shouting maskless into a bullhorn as she was surrounded in close proximity by other revelers, in clear defiance of her own guidelines at the time.
Lightfoot defended defying her own mask guidelines by saying she needed to celebrate Biden’s victory because it was a tough year and she needed “relief.”
Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police endorsed former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
“President Trump has shown time after time that he supports our law enforcement officers and understands the issues our members face every day,” a statement read.
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