United States

Chicago police scandal threatens thousands of officers with unpaid leave

16:13, 17 October 2021
Chicago police scandal threatens thousands of officers with unpaid leave Photo: pixabay.com

Vaccination disputes between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the police union can diminish the number of Chicago’s law enforcement agents by 50%.

Up to half of Chicago's police officers are facing the possibility of being put on unpaid leave due to a conflict between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the police union.

The city’s administration which promotes the idea of mandatory vaccination has earlier required deputies to present their vaccine status.

John Catanzara, the police union president, has called on the city’s officers to ignore the status-report deadline which raised the anger of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The latter accused the union leader of “inducing an insurrection” adding that Catanzara was encouraging strikes within law enforcement forces.

“I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody, let alone that information about your medical history and change the terms of employment,” Catanzara responded.

Following his appeals, a number of deputies have not presented their vaccination statuses and might now face suspension. According to the union’s head, half of the officers were likely to ignore the Mayor’s requests.

“If we suspect the numbers are true and we get a large number of our members who are not going to supply the information in the portal or submit to testing, then it's safe to say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up," Catanzara said.

He said that the union would look for ways to pause vaccination mandates and that it had already filed a suit against the city.

According to Carl Sullivan’s and Carla Baranauckas’s report which dates back to 2020, the city of Chicago hires more than 13,000 police officers.