Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara threatened to file a legal case against Chicago's Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the state's COVID requirement of having cops declare their vaccination status or be forced to undergo unpaid leave. Police officers who continue to decline the COVID vaccine will only be able to retain their jobs if they submit themselves to semi-weekly testing.
"It's safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up," Catanzara remarked, as per Breitbart. The union, Fraternal Order of Police is a a 335,000-member strong fraternal organization composed of sworn law enforcement officers across the United States, with 2,100 local chapters, state lodges, and a national Grand Lodge. Its goal is to improve the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the people they serve through activities involving education, legislation, information, employee representation, and community involvement, among others.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lightfoot opposed Catanzara's remarks, saying that the Chicago police union leader was propagating misinformation through "untrue or patently false" statements. According to the Associated Press, Mayor Lightfoot argued, "What we're focused on is making sure that we maximize the opportunity to create a very safe workplace. The data is very clear."
Mayor Lightfoot fired back, "It is unfortunate that the FOP leadership has chosen to put out a counter-narrative. But the fact of the matter is, if you are not vaccinated, you are playing with your life, the life of your family, the life of your colleagues and members of the public."
But Mayor Lightfoot faces significant pushback on the state's COVID vaccine mandates. Chicago Alderman Anthony Napolitano is one of six local lawmakers who urged Mayor Lightfoot to ease up on the COVID vaccine mandate, saying it was an "infringement on our constitutional rights" and warning that a potential shortage of officers will spark an even more dangerous reality for the city, which may experience increased crime rates.
Napolitano warned on Wednesday that a decrease in police staff will cause streets to "be completely lost" and unmanned police cars. Those who do remain in their jobs will be overwhelmed with "20 or 30 jobs waiting" as soon as they step into their police vehicles. The Chicago Alderman pressed, "Criminals know this stuff. They know what's going on. You're gonna see pure melee."
Mayor Lightfoot stood by the COVID vaccine mandate, however, saying that those who refuse to report their vaccination status "do so at their peril," CBS News reported. The Chicago mayor returned a warning, saying that "Insubordination is not something that we can tolerate."
Mayor Lightfoot's COVID vaccine mandate was announced in August and requires all city employees to be fully vaccinated by Saturday, October 17. One of Mayor Lightfoot's critics, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, expressed his desire to implore the state's governor to "declare a state of emergency."