The alarming crime surges consuming Chicago could escalate further thanks to a standoff between Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the municipal police union over the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.
About half of the Chicago police force — or roughly 6,500 officers — could be placed on unpaid leave for refusing to get jabbed pursuant to Lightfoot’s edict ordering all city workers to report their vaccination status by Oct. 15, according to the Daily Mail.
The potential furlough could ignite more crime waves across Chicago, which is already engulfed by rampant lawlessness after decades of Democratic leadership.
Chicago experienced its deadliest September in nearly 30 years, according to new data from the Chicago Police Department.https://t.co/bRIRtJYKIi
— WTTW (Chicago PBS) (@wttw) October 1, 2021
— D. Craig (@deannamcraig) October 18, 2021
The feud between the mayor and Chicago’s police union president, John Catanzara, heated up last week after he told members of the nation’s second-largest police department that they do not have to comply with the vaccine disclosure mandate.
Catanzara — who said that he is vaccinated — has underscored that he is not anti-vaccine.
Is Lightfoot out of line to force police officers to be vaccinated?
He and his fellow union members merely oppose the one-size-fits-all mandate and the invasive requirement that they disclose their vaccination status, which is a personal medical decision.
Cook County Circuit Judge Cecilia Horan, a Democrat, issued a temporary restraining order on Friday banning Catanzara from making public statements that encourage union members not to report their vaccination status to the city.
The order will be in effect until Oct. 25, when another court hearing is scheduled.
Judge issues a temporary restraining order against Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara preventing him from making public comments, social media posts, or videos telling officers not to comply with the vaccine mandates. pic.twitter.com/o3B69qybeE
— Critical Thinking 101(Expert of Expert Evaluation) (@critica18495985) October 16, 2021
City attorneys had argued that Catanzara’s statements were tantamount to advocating “sedition” and “anarchy.”
They also claimed that Catanzara, head of Fraternal of Police Lodge 7, had threatened an illegal work stoppage, which could endanger public safety. The FOP is contractually not allowed to strike.
Joel D’Alba, the attorney for the union, slammed Lightfoot and the liberal circuit judge, saying they’re trying to muzzle free speech.
“What’s truly extraordinary is they want to silence somebody who is the elected president of the union,” D’Alba said Friday.
The Chicago chapter of the FOP insisted that — contrary to Lightfoot’s claims — Catanzara never encouraged police officers to go on strike.
“President John Catanzara has never engaged in, supported, or encouraged a work stoppage,” the union tweeted Friday. “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.”
President John Catanzara has never engaged in, supported, or encouraged a work stoppage. @LoriLightfoot is the only one who has said she will send our dedicated Officers home without pay if they choose to reject her unlawful orders.
Hold the line, CPD, like you always do. https://t.co/ufBilMeuux
— Fraternal Order of Police – Chicago Lodge #7 (@FOP7Chicago) October 15, 2021
Former Democratic mayoral candidate Paul Vallas, who previously served as city budget director and as the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said the vaccine mandate was merely a diversion being weaponized by Lightfoot to distract from the horrific crime waves infesting their city.
“Mayor’s battle with CPD over vax is to DIVERT attention from CRIME wave. Not about cop safety,” Vallas tweeted Friday. “Since COVID began city did little to protect cops, fire, medics. Cops on buses, no quarantine for CPD when coming into contact with infected person while on duty.”
Mayor’s battle with CPD over vax is to DIVERT attention from CRIME wave. Not about cop safety. Since COVID began city did little to protect cops, fire, medics. Cops on buses, no quarantine for CPD when coming into contact with infected person while on duty.
— Paul Vallas (@Paulvallas) October 15, 2021
Catanzara torpedoed the vaccine mandate as “schizophrenic” and blasted Lightfoot, saying it’s hypocritical that police are required to disclose their vaccination status while public school teachers (who come into daily contact with children) are not.
“The teachers have a different policy,” he told Fox News’ Fox & Friends on Friday. “The teachers are literally, ‘You’re vaccinated or you get tested.’ You don’t have to report your vaccine status.”
He continued, “We [the police] have a mandate to report out vaccine status by midnight tonight. Doesn’t make any sense.”
Despite Lightfoot’s threats, no unvaccinated cops were put on unpaid leave Friday because, she said, it’ll take time to figure out who’s vaccinated.
However, the mayor reiterated that unvaccinated officers will be punished.
“Once we understand that people have not complied with the simple request to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or that ‘I’m going to take the testing option’ then yes, we will be moving forward and putting people into no-pay status,” Lightfoot said Friday, according to WBEZ-FM.
This does not feel coincidental.