A Judge Has Suspended Chicago’s COVID-19 Shot Mandate For Police Officers
A Chicago Cook County judge on Monday suspended the city’s policy mandating that all of its police officers take a COVID-19 jab by the end of the year or be fired, WBEZ Chicago reported.
The ruling is a welcome victory for police unions, who argued the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate violates their collective bargaining agreements. Judge Raymond Mitchell ruled Monday that the COVID shot mandate should be halted for police officers until those complaints can be later settled later in arbitration.
Mitchell’s ruling does not impact other workers or other parts of the policy, meaning that any city employees who are not part of one of the four police unions will still be forced to get the shot by Dec. 31, 2021. All police officers in the city are required to share their COVID-19 jab status and are force tested twice a week should they choose to not take the shot.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at an unrelated news conference Monday afternoon that her office is still looking over the order, adding that she herself has not yet looked at her own city’s policy. She would not say whether the dispute will be resolved by the end of the year, but insisted that the “mandate continues.”
“Our lawyers are looking at the judge’s ruling and looking at what our legal options are,” she said. “But what I know is we cannot stop, we absolutely cannot stop. This is about saving people’s lives.”
According to city data, almost 1 and 2 officers have not taken the jab with about 58% of the city’s police force reporting being inoculated for COVID-19. 27% of officers have reportedly not shared anything about their vaccination status to the city whatsoever.
John Catanzara, who heads the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, has vocally opposed the requirement that all workers disclose whether or not they have taken a COVID-19 jab, calling it an invasion of privacy and a violation of contracts between the city and the police. He also reportedly told police officers to “hold the line,” in wake of medical tyranny.
“There’s still over 3,000 members not in the [vaccine] portal,” Catanzara said at a press conference outside of police headquarters last week. “No one’s stopping them from [sharing their status] voluntarily. They’re intentionally not complying with the portal request and demand period. I think that’s unity.”
The Chicago mayor disagrees with Catanzara’s opinion that medicinal choices should be private and left to the discretion of the individual.
“I want to ask those who say they ‘support the police’ — how many more have to die?,” Mayor Lightfoot said in response to a group of councilmen voicing their opposition to forcing police officers to choose between putting food on the table or losing their bodily autonomy.
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