Half of Chicago’s police officers could be put on paid leave in dispute over vaccines

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As tensions rise over the vaccination status, more than half of Chicago police officers could be taken off duty.

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According to a mandate announced in August by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, all city employees, including police, were required to be fully vaccinated against Covid and submit evidence by October 15.

Covid is the leading cause of death among police officers in the US, according to Officer Down Memorial Page, more than 475 people have died after being hit by the virus since the start of the pandemic – four times more than those killed by bullets.

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As the vaccine deadline drew near, police union president John Catanzara posted a message on social media encouraging officers not to follow the city’s requirement.

He added: “I don’t believe the city has the authority to ask anyone, let alone that information about their medical history and the terms of employment, to change that,” he said in a video posted on YouTube on Tuesday. In.

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Mr Catanzara continued: “If we find a large number of our members who are firm on their beliefs that this is an overstatement, and they are not going to supply the information in the portal or submit it for testing, then it is safe to say The city of Chicago will have 50% or less police force for this coming weekend.

According to Mr Catanzara, officials in Chicago will be placed on unpaid leave if they do not disclose their vaccine status to the city by midnight on Thursday.

Ms Lightfoot said the city would check with officials who did not comply before placing her on unpaid leave, and she should continue to report for duty until told otherwise by her supervisors.

The mayor accused Mr Catanzara of attempting to “inspire a rebellion” in his remarks, adding that he was “stopping a work or encouraging a strike”, as the city’s law department filed a complaint against the union. Had it.

A union statement disputed the allegation, saying that Mr. Catanzara “never withheld, supported or encouraged work,” but a Cook County Circuit judge swiftly ruled that Mr. Catanzara was prohibited from making further public statements. which encouraged the members not to comply. City vaccination policy.

“I feel that the City has alleged a public interest in preventing Mr. Catanzara from making further remarks, encouraging his members to refuse to comply with the City’s policies, so I am seeking a temporary restraining order.” Will enter the order in which Mr. Catanzara should be excluded. Making additional public comments, “Judge Cecilia A. Horan said, “Mr. Catanzara, you can talk to your friends, you can talk to your family, but I Talking about YouTube things and various media things.

The police department was expected to be fully staffed over the weekend, as the city was plagued by violence, reported CNN.

Chicago is currently in the grip of a wave of gun crime, with 1,606 people shot within three months of the summer, and 261 dead between June and August, making it the deadliest year since the 1990s. Has been made.

Eric Carter, the first deputy superintendent of police, called on members of the force to fulfill “their mission and duty as professional police officers”, adding: “It is also our expectation that all officers follow the city’s Covid-19 mandate.” would follow.”

“Members of this department who refuse to comply with the requirements may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including isolation,” he said.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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