Chicago cops stripped of police powers for not complying with vaccine mandate

Midwest

CHICAGO (WGN) — Nearly two dozen Chicago cops were stripped of their police powers Monday over their refusal to disclose their vaccination status to the city.

Most of those officers were assigned to CPD headquarters in Bronzeville, according to John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file officers.

City employees had until Oct. 15 to disclose their vaccination status. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that more than a third of all CPD officers failed to do so.

Catanzara had strongly discouraged union members from submitting their vaccination status, and last week a judge barred him from speaking publicly about the city mandate.

Sources said that more than 40 officers were initially stripped of their police powers on Monday, but more than half of them eventually complied with the vaccine reporting mandate, and their police powers were immediately restored.

The 21 officers who were stripped were placed on no-pay status and ordered to turn in their badges and police IDs. A complaint was also lodged against each noncompliant officer.

Chicago’s police chief has put into writing a threat that officers could be fired if they don’t comply with the city’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, adding that those who choose to retire rather than adhere to the policy might be putting their retirement benefits at risk.

It’s unclear how long it will take the city to address each noncompliant employee, and a police source said the department will likely continue to confront noncompliant officers through the rest of the week, if not longer.

According to a city data portal, 64.42% (8,224 out of 12,770) of Chicago Police employees, sworn officers and civilians, have complied with a city requirement to report their COVID-19 vaccination status. Of those, 6,894 responded that they are vaccinated and 1,333 responded that they are not.

The police department lags far behind other city departments in a dispute that could lead to officer firings in the nation’s third-largest city.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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