The CHICAGO leader of the Chicago Police Department has urged its members to defy the city’s requirement to report their Covid-19 vaccination status by Friday or be put on unpaid leave.
In the video, which was published online Tuesday and first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the brotherhood of Police President John Catanzara promised to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to court if it tries to enforce the mandate that requires city workers to report their vaccine status by the end. of the work week. After Friday, unvaccinated workers who will not undergo coronavirus tests every week will be posted unpaid.
Catanzara suggested that if the city really enforces its claim and many union members refuse to comply, “it is safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force of 50% or less this weekend.”
In the video, Catanzara instructs officers in applying for exemptions to receive the vaccine, but not entering this information into the city’s vaccine portal.
He said that although he has clarified his vaccine status, “I do not think the city has the authority to leave it to anyone, let alone this information about your medical history.”
During a news conference Wednesday, Lightfoot accused Catanzara of spreading false information, dismissing most of his statements as “untrue or manifestly false.” She said Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to be effective and that vaccination would protect urban workers and their families.
“What we focus on is making sure we maximize the opportunity to create a very safe workplace,” Lightfoot said. “The data is very clear. It is a pity that the FOP management has chosen to issue a counter-report. But the thing is, if you are not vaccinated, you are playing with your life, the lives of your family, the lives of your colleagues and the public. ”
She said the city is ready to handle any fallout related to the vaccination requirement.
Violent crime has risen in the city this year, from highway shootings to rising car chases. Chicago police reported 629 homicides this year through early October against 605 in the same period last year and 402 in the same time frame in 2019.
The first responders around the country have been hit hard by the virus, but have resisted vaccination mandates. More than 460 law enforcement officials have been killed by Covid-19, including four members of the Chicago Police Department, according to Officer Down Memorial Page. On Tuesday, Dean Angelo, who once had Catanzara’s union, died of the disease.
The Los Angeles Police and County Sheriff and Seattle Police are among the departments, either under vaccination mandates or facing one.
Catanzara has been shot along with the mayor over a wide range of issues. After the city announced the vaccination mandate in August, the union chief compared it to something that could happen to Nazi Germany, telling the Sun-Times: “This is not Nazi … Germany (says) ‘Step into … showers, the pills will not hurt you.
Lightfoot blasted Catanzara for his “offensive outburst,” and Catanzara posted a video on the union’s YouTube channel apologizing for his choice of words, saying he was not trying to link vaccinations to what happened during the Holocaust.