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A Chicago police union boss told cops to defy the city’s upcoming COVID-19 vaccination reporting mandate.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said Tuesday he would take Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to court if it enforced a directive ordering city workers to report their vaccination status by Friday.
Under the order, unvaccinated municipal workers who don’t submit to regular COVID-19 tests would be placed on unpaid leave.
Chicago has the nation’s second-largest police department, consisting of about 13,000 cops, many of whom would not comply with the mandate, Catanzara threatened in an online video.
“It’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up,” the labor leader said.
Catanzara instructed his members to file for exemptions to receiving the vaccine, but not inform the city, in the clip.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago have an order in place to have city workers report their COVID-19 vaccination status.Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP
“I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody, let alone that information about your medical history,” he said.
On Wednesday, Lightfoot promoted the vaccines as safe and effective and accused Catanzara of making statements that were “untrue or patently false.”
“What we’re focused on is making sure that we maximize the opportunity to create a very safe workplace,” the Democrat said.
“The data is very clear. 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.”
Chicago has around 13,000 cops, making it the second biggest police force in the US.AFP via Getty Images
In August, Catanzara likened the mandate to the Holocaust before later apologizing.
“This ain’t Nazi … Germany (saying) ‘Step into the … showers, the pills won’t hurt you,’” he told the Chicago Sun Times.
The discord comes as the Second City continues to grapple with a rise in violent crime. Cops had reported 629 homicides this year through early October, a 56 percent increase from two years ago.
John Catanzara said he would take Lori Lightfoot to court if the order is indeed enforced. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP
Four members of the CPD have died from the virus, including Dean Angelo, who preceded Catanzara as union boss. The 67-year-old lost his battle with COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Last month, the NYPD began requiring unvaccinated officers to submit to weekly tests or be taken off the schedule.
With AP wires