(RepublicanInformer.com)- Some police officers in Chicago have decided not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and now they’re paying the price for that decision.
On Tuesday, David Brown, the superintendent of the Chicago Police, said 21 officers were placed on “no pay status” for not disclosing their vaccination status. That goes against a city order that is requiring them to do so.
Despite those officers being put on leave, Brown said it would not affect staffing at the department at all.
Brown said that there are three members of his family who are “anti-vaxxers.” In recent weeks, they have all died of complications related to COVID-19. This is why he’s trying to profess the importance of the vaccines while trying to protect the public and officers from harm.
“This virus is no different than the gunfire we take as cops. It would go against our oath to take this virus into [residents’] homes.”
The police department is lagging considerably behind Chicago’s other city departments in terms of compliance with the city’s new requirement to report the COVID-19 vaccination status of all employees. Brown alleged that employees of his department had begun to enter their vaccination status in recent days, though.
As of this week, only 67% of the department’s employees have entered their vaccination status with the city. Of those employees who have entered their status, 82% are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
One thing that has stalled progress in the matter is an ongoing dispute between the city government and the police union.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took the fight with the union to court. She was claiming that the police union’s president was telling officers to completely ignore the city’s requirement that they report their vaccination status.
In a complaint filed in court, Lightfoot accused John Catanzara, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, of “engaging in, supporting and encouraging work stoppage or strike.”
She won that argument in court, as a judge granted a temporary injunction that bars Catanzara from making any public comments that would encourage members of the FOP from disobeying Chicago’s reporting requirement.
In court statements, Lightfoot said Catanzara was putting the public in danger by encouraging members of his union to not report their vaccination status.
In the filing, Lightfoot wrote:
“By doing so, and by predicting that 50% or more officers will violate their oaths and not report for duty, Catanzara is encouraging an unlawful strike and work stoppage which carries the potential to undermine public safety and expose our residents to irreparable harm, particularly during an ongoing pandemic.”
Despite the court order, Catanzara still contends that the portal where officers must report their vaccination status is a violation of the rights they have according to the union’s contract with Chicago, and also a violation of their constitutional rights.
Earlier this week, the union’s website still encouraged its members not to comply with the order. They also offered an alternative — comply with the order but also show a form that they’re doing so “under complete duress and threats of termination.”