Chicago sues police union over refusal to comply with vaccine mandate
Chicago’s city government on Thursday sued Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara over actions related to a new vaccine mandate.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said in a statement Friday that she “cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders.”
“President Catanzara has time and again deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and falsely claiming that there will be no repercussions if officers are insubordinate and refuse to follow a City and Department directive or order,” Lightfoot added.
The police union responded by saying, “President John Catanzara has never engaged in, supported, or encouraged a work stoppage.”
“Lori Lightfoot is the only one who has said she will send our dedicated Officers home without pay if they choose to reject her unlawful orders,” the organization added.
The Fraternal Order of Police did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for a comment.
The mayor’s office told The Hill that she will later hold a press conference on Friday and will likely address the issue.
“Do not fill out the portal information,” Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said in a video to members posted on YouTube on 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.”
“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 earlier in the week.
Catanzara also said on Tuesday that the Fraternal Order of Police already has a class-action grievance drafted to cover “everything under the sun,” such as pay and benefits, that police officers risk losing if they refuse to get vaccinated.
Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers is still being crafted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Several Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have vowed to fight the vaccine mandate in court.
More recently, Abbott declared that no entity in Texas can impose a vaccine mandate.