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Chicago’s police officers’ vaccine mandate came to a halt on Monday morning as the battle continued between the police union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. A Cook County judge temporarily suspended the mandate that required all police officers to be completely vaccinated by Dec. 31, 2021, or face termination.
The judge ordered both parties back to the bargaining table.
The battle began when The Fraternal Order of Police encouraged officers to deny the mandate. John Cantanzara, the police union president, repeatedly urged officers not to comply with mandates. On Wednesday, he uploaded a video message to express his attempts further.
Although the mandate has been temporarily suspended, officers are still susceptible to following specific guidelines. However, the city continues to follow disciplinary action against those who do not become fully vaccinated, submit to required testing and status updates.
Mayor Lightfoot contends the vaccine mandate is an effort to protect public health. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Raymond Mitchell affirmed: “the city’s public health objective and the police union’s desire to pursue their grievances are not wholly irreconcilable.” Both the city and the union filed lawsuits against each other.
Previous legal actions have been taken as Lightfoot arranged a restraining order against Cantanzara, which barred him from urging Chicago police officers to deny mandate orders. Yet, the attempt to extend the restraining order was denied in the previous week.
Despite Cantanzara’s efforts to rebel against all mandate guidelines, more than half of Chicago police officers are complying with the city’s demands, 76% have reported their vaccination status. Of those, 80% report they are fully vaccinated.
Lightfoot describes Cantanzara’s constant push back against the vaccine mandate as “desperate.”
As of Monday, 35 Chicago Police officers have been relieved of duty and payment status as a result of the mandate halt.
Written By Doneisha Jackson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Block Club Chicago: Chicago’s Vaccine Mandate For Police Temporarily Suspended By Judge Amid Fight With Police Union; by Kelly Bauer and Justin Laurence
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Thomas Hawk’s Flickr- Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Kevin T Quinn’s Flickr- Creative Commons License