Protesters gather outside Chicago City Hall demanding city council to take back power from Lightfoot

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CHICAGO, IL- On the evening of October 25th, protesters gathered outside Chicago City Hall demanding city council members take action against Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate as well as limit the mayor’s power to enact sweeping policy changes when it comes to disciplining city employees who defy her rules.

According to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, nearly 23 Chicago police officers have already been stripped of their police powers and placed on unpaid leave due to the mayor’s vaccine mandate.

During the protest outside City Hall ahead of the city council meeting, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John Catanzara, said:

“This is not the way a government is supposed to run. It is not a queen on that throne. It is a mayor.”

In late August, Catanzara was forced to apologize after issuing a profanity-laced tirade comparing the mayor’s vaccine mandate to restrictions imposed in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. In an apology video on YouTube, Catanzara explained his offensive comparison, saying:

“When governments, whether its Nazi Germany or modern-day Chicago, try to start, or any other major city like New York and many others who are doing this, try to create policies that mandate their employees first to have to do things to their bodies it will not stop there. You are opening up the door for the citizens to be next.”

On October 25th, outside City Hall, Catanzara told city council members:

“You can hate me. You can hate my message, but the vaccine showdown is about the entire city workforce. Not the Chicago Police Department. Not even the FOP and it’s not about me.”

He added:

“Everybody hated when Richie Daley decided to bulldoze Meigs Field in the middle of the night because he thought it was the right thing to do. Shame on him.

One person should not have that kind of power. Everybody hated when Rahm Emanuel got rid of retiree health care at the stroke of a pen and laughed about it because he thought it was the right thing to do and it wasn’t”

The FOP president continued:

“For far too long now, everybody sitting in those chairs, whether it’s you or your predecessors, have allowed this to continue on generation after generation. It needs to stop today. This tyrant at the top needs to stop what she’s doing.”

An ordinance introduced on October 25th would reverse Lightfoot’s mandate, would provide retroactive pay to officers who have been placed on unpaid leave, and would require full city council approval for any police changes that could put city employees on unpaid leave status in the future. 

Unsurprisingly, the mayor denounced the effort as “foolishness” and said she will do everything in her power to shoot it down. 

Catanzara warned the city council that their jobs are also on the line and that those who do not back the repeal effort “will be challenged in 2023.” He added:

“We are coming for every one of your damn seats because this is not the way a government is supposed to run. Shame on every one of you. When she challenged your aldermanic prerogative, you all lost your mind.”

As of October 25th, approximately 71 percent of Chicago Police Department (CPD) personnel had reported their vaccination status to the city as Lightfoot required. Nearly 20 percent of those who responded said they are not vaccinated. 

City council members and staff have the second-lowest compliance rating, with just 85 percent having reported their vaccination status. 

Lightfoot has also lashed out at Chicago Alderwoman Silvana Tabares for her support of the proposed mandate-repealing ordinance, accusing her of being a puppet for Catanzara, who the mayor claimed “spewed hate” against Tabares’ Hispanic constituents. Lightfoot said:

“She knows very well this will never see the light of day. But, the fact that she’s willing to put her name on it is … dangerous. That is not reflective of her community.”

The mayor added:

“It’s really stunning to me that a woman of color would carry the water for a guy like that, who every single day spews hatred against people who look like her and have her background. It is really, really shameful and she’ll have to answer for that.”

The proposed ordinances were sent to the Rules Committee during the meeting on October 25th, which has been described as a “burial ground” for legislation Lightfoot opposes.

 Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

‘Come work with us!’ Indiana police officials welcome Chicago cops who lost job because of “mandate”

October 22nd, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN- According to reports, Illinois police officers who may soon be out of a job due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, specifically those in Chicago under the thumb of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, can look to their eastern neighbor state of Indiana for job opportunities in law enforcement.

In a statement to Fox News, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) stated that:

“Our police do the hardest job in the world and they deserve respect, not losing their pay or being fired for refusing to comply with a ridiculous vaccine mandate.”

The Senator urged the “3,000 Chicago cop defying this government overreach” to come work in nearby Indiana instead. Braun stated:

“Indiana’s police departments are hiring now and will welcome you with the respect you deserve. My office stands ready to help connect Chicago police officers to an Indiana police department that is hiring now and doesn’t have a vaccine mandate. Welcome to Indiana!”

During an interview with Fox News, the chief of police in Munster, Indiana, echoed Braun’s sentiment and insisted there is a “bright future right over the border” for officers who are under scrutiny for their views on vaccine mandates. Chief Steve Scheckel stated:

“We’ve been seeing more and more Chicago officers when we do an emergency hire, which is basically a lateral transfer. They already have the academy.”

Scheckel noted that his department has already hired one individual from Chicago and that he is “absolutely” open to the idea of working alongside those “looking for a better quality of life for their family” who may have been ousted from their jobs.

When asked about the types of opportunities officers could have if they were to relocate to Munster, Scheckel pointed to education, the cost of living, tax rates, and low-crime rates. He said:

“Here in northwest Indiana, in Munster, we have one of the top rated school systems in the state. [Officers] can send their kids to public school. It’s a low-crime community.

Even though we’re 30 minutes from Chicago, we’re rated one of the 10 safest cities in the state of Indiana. So, it’s really just a step across the state line to a better life for the officer.”

Scheckel, who has been with the department for more than 30 years, serving as police chief for the last 13, added:

“From the government on down, in Indiana, we support our law enforcement. I think there’s a clear contrast between what’s going on in the city of Chicago right now and what’s happening in the state of Indiana.”

Scheckel highlighted the “trying and stressful” times for first responders over the last couple of years and that the “mandates that really aren’t rooted in science” appear to be “politically motivated.” He suggested that they are the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

According to reports, Chicago police officials made it clear that officers who refuse to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate risk being disciplined or fired. As of Monday, October 18th, just under 65 percent of Chicago Police Department personnel reported their vaccination status through the city’s online portal.

On Tuesday, October 19th, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown confirmed that so far a total of 21 officers have been stripped of their police powers and placed on unpaid leave for refusing to disclose their vaccination status. 

The superintendent has also threatened to withhold the pensions of officers who choose to retire from the department after not complying with Lightfoot’s mandate. In a police memo issued on October 17th, Brown stated:

“Sworn members who retire while under disciplinary investigations may be denied retirement credentials.”

Lightfoot gave the Chicago Police Department’s 12,000 officers until midnight on October 14th to disclose their vaccine status or face unpaid suspension.

In order to avoid being placed on unpaid leave, officers were required to either provide proof of vaccination or consent to being tested for the virus twice a week.

Reportedly, the twice-weekly testing option is available to workers only until the end of the year. After that, vaccination will be the only option without an approved religious or medical exemption. 

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Time to flee the city? Lawsuits fly as Chicago FOP says half of police force could be fired over mandate

October 18th, 2021

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.


CHICAGO, IL – Things are heating up in the “Windy City” as the Mayor warns that police officers and other city workers who defy the city’s vaccine mandate will be put on no-pay status — and could be fired if they don’t show up for work.

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John Catanzara said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) 12,000 officers until midnight on Oct. 14 to disclose their vaccine status. Catanzara is telling officers that the city has no authority to mandate the shots:

“I’ve made my status very clear as far as the vaccine, but 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 so to speak on the fly.”

Catanzara has warned Chicago could be forced to get by this weekend with a police force of “50% or less” if the mayor follows through on her threat to place employees who fail to report their vaccination status by Friday on “non-disciplinary, no-pay status.”

Mayor Lightfoot said the city would take the weekend to review which officers complied with the order before taking action. She said she did not expect to place any officers on unpaid leave until next week and said officers should continue reporting for duty unless told otherwise:

“No employee should abandon their post. Not showing up creates a whole other set of issues for them.”

The Mayor would not answer what the city planned to do if half the officers were taken off the streets, instead holding on to hopes that officers would comply:

“I don’t expect that to happen. And again, I’m gonna (sic) be focused on the positive, which is, the whole point that all of our city employees — whether they are sworn or civilian — do their duty and make sure they get vaccinated.

“I believe that, as a city government, we’ve got to lead by example. … The only way that we can make this real is we’ve got to hold people accountable. And we are absolutely prepared to do that.”

After throwing a barb at the Union boss, she said told officers to protect their families and the community:

“John Catanzara says a lot of things. A lot of it offensive and racist and foolish. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll be prepared for any eventuality.”

“Our message is to the members: Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your partner. Protect members of the public. Get yourself vaccinated. We don’t want to lose any more police officers from COVID-19 deaths when the life-saving vaccine is readily available.”

Opting not to respond to the personal attack by the Mayor, Catanzara said a large number of officers find the vaccine requirement and the survey that must be submitted are “overreach”:

“If we suspect the numbers are true and we get a large number of our members to stand firm on their beliefs that this is an overreach and they’re 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 percent or less for this weekend coming up.

“That is not because of the FOP; that is 100 percent because of the mayor’s unwillingness to budge from her hard line.”

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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According to Lightfoot, the survey required of officers is “very basic” and “not intrusive.”

The city took the extraordinary step of asking a judge to silence the Union, and the judge surprisingly agreed.

A restraining order came Friday evening, just a day after the city sued the police union and its president, John Catanzara, alleging they were “encouraging a work stoppage or strike” by suggesting offices not report their COVID-19 vaccination status as required.

Mayor Lightfoot said in a Friday press release:

“As Chicago’s mayor, I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders.

“President Catanzara has time and again deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and falsely claiming that there will be no repercussions if officers are insubordinate and refuse to follow a City and Department directive or order.”

“… By doing so, and by predicting that 50 percent or more officers will violate their oaths and not report for duty, Catanzara is encouraging an unlawful strike and work stoppage which carries the potential to undermine public safety and expose our residents to irreparable harm, particularly during an ongoing pandemic.”

The Union reacted by filing its own lawsuit against the city, claiming officials did not negotiate over the mandate in good faith and sending out the mandate without discussing the terms with the Union. Catanzara told reporters:

“Our stance from the beginning is that we’re a union there are collective bargaining rights that need to be maintained and honored.”

Catanzara and Lightfoot have sparred on many occasions, and reports claim the two do not like each other on a personal level. The vaccine mandate has been burning between them since the Mayor made the mandate announcement in August, and at times, things got overheated between the two.

Shortly after the mandate was announced, Catanzara compared it to tactics used by Nazi Germany.

“We’re in America, Godd–n it. We don’t want to be forced to do anything. Period. This ain’t Nazi f—ing Germany, (where they say), ‘Step into the f—ing showers. The pills won’t hurt you.’ What the f—k?”

He apologized for the comments after blowback from the Anti-Defamation League and other groups.

The Union boss released another video on Thursday calling on officers to reject the mandate. Catanzara said he does not think the city should be able to require workers to get vaccinated, nor does he think officers should trust the city with their private health information.

 

The Mayor has backed off on employment threats in the past, but this battle seems to be coming to a head. She said officers who do not want to comply can leave the department:

“It’s an honor to be a Chicago police officer. And anyone who says, ‘We get to do what we want, when we want it. We get to have the kind of policing that we want when we want it,’ that is the kind of policing that has happened in our city for far too long,” and it’s why residents don’t trust police.

“We’re not having that anymore. It is a new day in the city of Chicago.”

After Friday, all city workers who are not fully vaccinated must agree to twice-weekly testing through Dec. 31, at which point they are required to be fully vaccinated, or they can face discipline.

Catanzara has directed rank-and-file police officers to file forms “no earlier than Thursday” exempting them from receiving the vaccine for one of three reasons the union has insisted upon: religious, medical, or conscientious objector.

He directed them to report to work, as scheduled, on Friday and force the city to send them home.

In a video posted on the union’s Facebook page, Catanzara told officers their insurance benefits will continue for 30 days, even if they are placed on “non-disciplinary” suspension without pay.

“I can guarantee you that no-pay status will not last more than 30 days. There’s no way they’re going to be able to sustain a police department workforce at 50% capacity or less for more than seven days without something budging.”

In an interview Friday night on Fox News, Catanzara summed up how he sees the battle:

“The numbers we have are probably around half are not [vaccinated]. But even the ones that are, like myself, believe that a forced mandate is absolutely wrong.

“The reality is, we have a profession nobody else wants to do right now. They cannot get anybody to go into this police academy, but yet here she is vilifying the police yet again in a city that has over 185 expressway shootings this year alone.

“Over 280 kids shot this year alone, and she acts like there’s nothing else going on but this COVID.”

Chicago is not alone in the battle between privacy rights, medical rights, and vaccine mandates. Cities across the country are struggling with this same issue.

At least 120 officers in San Francisco have been removed from duty for failing to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate. Eighty of the 120 police officers removed from work were from the department’s patrol division, San Francisco Police Officers Association vice president Tracy McCray said.

Law Enforcement Today will be following these battles and reporting on them in the days to come.

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