Chicago drops lawsuit against police union over vaccine mandate

Midwest

CHICAGO (WGN) — The City of Chicago has dismissed its lawsuit against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 over the vaccine mandate.

Per policy, all city employees were to disclose their vaccination status by Oct. 15.

FOP Lodge 7, led by union president John Catanzara, was opposed to the mandate and urged rank-and-file members to disobey. They filed a lawsuit in court, challenging the mandate, and the city filed a countersuit.

The night of the deadline, Catanzara was barred from publicly commenting on the lawsuit by a judge. After the court hearing, Catanzara took to YouTube to say officers “need to do what’s in their hearts and minds.” He then criticized Chicago leadership and announced his candidacy for mayor in 2023.

CPD moved forward with the discipline of officers — which led to some being stripped of their powers.

In the latest data, 87.29% of CPD employees have disclosed their vaccination status — up from around 64% initially.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued the following statement after the city dropped the lawsuit.

In it, she remarks that the city will refile the action if the FOP or Cantanzara take further action “encouraging an illegal work stoppage or strike.”

Today, at my direction, the City’s Department of Law voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 without prejudice. This Verified Complaint for Injunctive Relief was initially filed in response to the president of FOP Lodge 7, John Catanzara, repeatedly calling for his members to engage in an illegal work stoppage or strike—which is strictly prohibited under Illinois Law. The past few weeks have shown what I have said from the beginning to be true: that our brave police officers are smarter than their FOP leadership, and care more about their city, their fellow Chicagoans, and upholding their sworn oath to protect and serve, than they do Catanzara’s frivolous demands to stop working. 

It should be noted, that should the FOP or John Catanzara take any further action toward encouraging an illegal work stoppage or strike, we can and will immediately refile this action.  

From day one when this requirement was announced in August, this entire process has been and will continue to be about protecting the lives and safety of all Chicagoans. The data shows that we are succeeding in that mission, and that police officers recognize that protecting and serving in the times of global pandemic means ensuring that that they are vaccinated against COVID-19. The number of officers who have come into compliance with the City’s vaccine reporting mandate, as well as the mandatory vaccination policy, have continued to grow since October 15th, and I have complete confidence that the entire Department will be in compliance with City policy in the near future

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Catanzara has not issued a statement or video update at this time.

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