Yesterday, we reported that the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police threatened to defy Friday’s deadline for officers to report their COVID-19 vaccine status. Despite this, Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) refuses to back down, with officials saying that the mandate will not be lifted.
Chicago Police First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter told The Chicago Tribune that the department expects all officers to get vaccinated. He added that Lightfoot’s rules state that all members of the department must report their vaccination status and undergo testing at their own time and expense if they remain unvaccinated. Carter also said that “separation” is one of the potential punishments for those who refuse to comply.
Carter and Chief of Operations Brian McDermott attempted to downplay potential staff shortages over the weekend in the wake of the mandate going into effect, assuring the press that the department will be fully staffed.
Lightfoot herself has said that anyone in the police department who is expected to work over the weekend must show up unless they’re explicitly told not to.
“Anything less would be insubordination,” she added, going on to say that anyone who doesn’t show up or doesn’t report their vaccination status will eventually be moved to a no-pay status. However, this won’t happen over the weekend because it will take time to reach out to people who aren’t in compliance and verify the situation.
This comes after Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Union President John Catanzara released a video in which he called on thousands of rank-and-file members to defy Lightfoot’s vaccination reporting requirement and brace for being sent home without pay. He specifically encouraged officers to file exemptions to receiving the vaccine but not to enter any information into the vaccine portal that is mandated by the city,
“Do not fill out the portal information,” Catanzara told union members in the video. “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.”
Lightfoot fired back by telling Catanzara to “bring it.”
“We’ll see what happens,” she added. “You know, John Catanzara says a lot of things, and a lot of it offensive and racist and foolish, but we’ll see what happens. We’ll be prepared for any eventuality.”
It remains to be seen how this will all play out after Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate goes into effect tomorrow.