Chicago police union chief calls on officers to defy vaccine order

The head of the Chicago police union is calling on officers to defy the city’s vaccine mandate set to start Friday.

“Do not fill out the portal information,” Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said in a video to members posted on YouTube Tuesday. “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.”

The union is preparing a lawsuit against the city, according to Catanzara, as police members who don’t submit their vaccination status will be placed on a “no pay” status.

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“It’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend coming up,” he said. 

A spokesperson for Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootToronto police say unvaccinated officers to be placed on leave at end of November Sheriffs say they won't help cover potential mandate staffing shortages in Chicago 21 officers placed on 'no pay' status amid Chicago vaccine standoff MORE (D) told the Chicago Sun-Times her office had “no statement” on the video by Catanzara. 

The union chief said members should apply for an exemption but not confirm their vaccination status in the city portal. 

“I can guarantee you that no-pay status will not last more than 30 days,” Catanzara said in the video. “There’s no way they’re going to be able to sustain a police department workforce at 50 percent capacity or less for more than seven days without something budging.”

“This is very clearly not a job action,” Catanzara said, “not a call for a strike.”

His comments come after Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he would not be enforcing a vaccine mandate on his employees. 

The Hill has reached out to Lightfoot's office for comment.