Head of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police John Catanzara, who is a vocal critic of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, has urged officers to defy orders to disclose vaccination status even if it means losing pay.
In August, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that all city employees would have to be fully vaccinated by October 15. With the deadline now less than 24 hours away, tensions between the mayor and Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara are higher than ever.
Catanzara has been critical of Mayor Lightfoot's mandate from the beginning, even going so far as to compare it to the real oppression faced faced by those who had lived in Nazi Germany. He has since apologized for those remarks.
According to NBC News, Catanzara said on Tuesday that he vowed to take the mayor and her administration to court over the mandate if it is enforced as planned. The city has reiterated that unvaccinated officers who fail to take semiweekly COVID-19 tests will be placed on unpaid leave.
Catanzara has urged officers who do not support the mandates to file for vaccine exemptions, but not to share that information with the city's "vaccine portal," and claimed that if the mandate is enforced, Chicago could experience a dramatic cut in police presence.
Mayor Lightfoot hit back, reminding everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and accusing Catanzara of spreading false information. "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," she said.